January 31, 2023 2 min read

During sleep time, the human body produces less urine that is more concentrated. This means that the majority of people do not need to wake up throughout the night to go to the bathroom and can sleep uninterrupted for six to eight hours.  If you are waking up two or more times throughout the night to urinate, it is likely that you may have nocturia. Nocturia, also known as nocturnal polyuria, is a condition that causes you to wake up during the night to urinate.


What causes Nocturia?

Nocturia is a common problem, however, becomes more common as you age and can be caused by a lifestyle habit or underlying health issue. Some health issues related to nocturia can include:

  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Poorly managed diabetes
  • Swollen ankles
  • Taking fluid tablets at night for bladder infections
  • An overactive bladder
  • Constipation (a full bowel can press on the bladder)
  • An enlarged prostate (may not let the bladder empty out fully)
  • Anxiety
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)


Nocturia can often be a symptom of a health condition listed above which has the potential to worsen or spread if left untreated. Nocturia due to an underlying condition will usually stop when the condition is successfully treated.


Some lifestyle habits related to nocturia can include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Having broken sleep and urinating just because you’re awake
  • Consuming large amounts of fluid before bed
  • Consuming alcohol or caffeine (coffee, chocolate, fizzy drinks etc.) before bed


Treatment for nocturia

The following can help manage nocturia:

  • Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol (especially before going to bed)
  • Reducing the amount you drink 2 – 4 hours before bed
  • Urinating before bed
  • Keeping track of when you take fluid tablets
  • Resting with your legs up for a few hours in the afternoon or evening
  • Avoiding foods that can irritate your bladder (chocolate, spicy and acidic foods, artificial sweeteners)
  • Performing Kegel exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. This can improve bladder control. Read how to do Kegel exercises here
  • Paying attention to what makes your symptoms worse and changing your habits accordingly. Some people find it helpful to keep a diary of what they drink and when etc.
  • If medication is causing nocturia, consider taking the medication earlier in the day if it is safe to do so


If you are struggling with nocturia, your doctor may refer you to a Nurse Continence Specialist, Continence Physiotherapist or Medical Specialist to discuss appropriate treatments. This can include medications to treat the nocturia or the underlying cause.


Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.


Additional Resources

Continence Foundation of Australia. (2020). Nocturia. https://www.continence.org.au/types-incontinence/urinary-incontinence/nocturia

The Healthline Editorial Team. (2018). Excessive Urination at Night (Nocturia).https://www.healthline.com/health/urination-excessive-at-night#causes

Urology Care. (n.d.) What is Nocturia.https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/n/nocturia