Having a good night’s sleep is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy and energetic lifestyle; however, there is often one thing that stops this from happening: constant late-night trips to the toilet. While these trips can be quick, they often disturb your sleep more than you would think.
As we get older, not only do our bladders hold less urine, our bodies also produce less of the important hormone that helps us retain fluids, which makes it feel like everything is working against us having an uninterrupted sleep. While it’s expected that anyone over 60 should be going to the toilet at least once during the night, there are several ways that we can lessen our chances of the dreaded nighttime trips.
It is always a good idea to decrease the amount of liquid intake before around 6pm or at least two hours before your bed time. After this time, you are more likely to pee after you have fallen asleep rather than before. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol consumption in the afternoon as these are bladder stimulants that will most likely increase your chances of going to sleep with a full bladder.
Throughout the day, your body’s fluids will usually pool in your extremities, which means when you go to lie down at the end of the day the fluid will absorb back into your body for your kidneys to process which will immediately give you the urge to pee. To stop this, you can do two things. Try elevating your legs to heart-level for one hour anytime before you go to bed to encourage urination earlier than your bed time. Or wear compression socks throughout the day as they will help the fluid circulation and assist with bathroom breaks before you fall asleep.
Anyone who struggles with a weak bladder can try pelvic floor muscles such as Kegel exercises. This means contracting and releasing your pelvic floor to create a stronger barrier for your urine. Test out your muscles by stopping and starting your pee mid-stream.
However, it’s important to know when your urination problem is serious. If you’re 60 to 70 years old and getting up to visit the bathroom more than twice in one night it might be worth checking in with your doctor. An overactive bladder can be linked to diabetes, liver problems and obesity so it is always helpful to check with a professional. Often our bladder is a key indicator to how healthy the rest of our body is, so it’s important not to ignore any possible signs.