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How to Get Sleep If You Suffer from Overactive Bladder

November 14, 2017 | Fisher-Titus Healthy Living Team

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overactive bladder sleepIt’s been a long day, and you can’t wait to crawl under the covers, close your eyes and fall asleep. But before you know it, you’re awake again, and the urge is there. You get up, use the restroom and climb back into bed. You drift off, only to wake up again. It seems it’s an endless cycle of waking and sleeping, and sometimes having trouble falling back to sleep.

If you suffer from overactive bladder (OAB), this can be a frustrating nightly routine for you. Nocturia is the term for getting up more than twice per night to urinate. It can lead to sleepiness during the day, and for heavier sleepers, it can even cause you to wet the bed if the urge doesn’t wake you in time.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help you still catch some Z’s even with OAB. Use these tips to get some sleep.

Limit Fluids Close to Bedtime

To prepare for the night ahead, limit your liquid intake in the hours before you retire. The less fluid you take in, the lower your chances of needing to eliminate them during the night. It’s recommended to slow your liquid intake three to four hours before bed, and stop drinking entirely one to two hours before. To avoid becoming dehydrated, make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout your waking hours.

Avoid Food and Drink Irritants

Certain foods and beverages can stimulate urination, so it’s important to know which ones they are and eliminate them from your evening diet if possible. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it increases urine production. Other foods to avoid before bed include:

  • Alcohol
  • Spicy food
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Acidic foods

Do Pelvic Floor Exercises

Commonly referred to as kegels, these exercises can help control OAB. Contracting then releasing the urethra opening can help relax the bladder, making it easier to hold it in until you make it to the restroom. Strengthening these muscles can be done anytime, as it’s not visibly noticeable when you’re doing them. Try doing three sets of eight to start, holding the contractions for six seconds each, and three times per week.

Set Your Bedtime Earlier

If you know you’re going to be losing sleep throughout the night, turn in earlier than you normally would. Follow your regular bedtime routine, and do relaxing activities to stimulate sleepiness. Take a hot bath, light candles and be sure to use the restroom before getting into bed. This could compensate for time lost when you wake up during the night.

Take Naps

Of course, if you can’t get to bed earlier, or have trouble falling asleep earlier, you could try to get more sleep by taking a nap if your schedule permits. Go out to your car on your break, or take a cat nap as soon as you get home. Just don’t nap too close to bedtime or that could affect your sleeping pattern.

Of course, these lifestyle modifications may be only a temporary fix. OAB may require further treatment, so it’s important to discuss with your doctor whether you’re getting up more than twice per night. Incontinence is a symptom of OAB, where you lose control of the bladder. Overactive bladder affects both men and women. To learn more about what you can do about it, download our guides below, tailored specifically for the unique incontinence issues facing men and women.

Male Incontinence Guide

Female Incontinence Guide

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