Posted on Leave a comment

Top Ten Sleep Disturbances – #6 Incontinence

Written by Heather Johnson, RN
Resource Nurse, Empira

#6 Incontience

Adult man in a toilet at home

Did you know that more than 1/3 of adults awaken during the course of the night to go to the bathroom at least twice? This is identified as Nocturia; the need to awaken during the night to urinate, and leads to fragmented sleep and opens the door to additional related complications.

While Nocturia occurs at any age, for those over the age of 60, it becomes much more common, especially for those with a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension, and/or heart disease. Also contributing to this night-time urgency are: urinary tract infections (UTI), small bladder, kidney disease, enlarged prostate gland, prostate or bladder cancer, neurological disorders, stress, anxiety, fear, psychological issues, sleep apnea, an imbalance of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or pelvic prolapse in women. Medications are also known to increase nighttime incontinence. Side-effects from hypnotics, insomnia medications and psychiatric medications can also increase your risk of incontinence.

Some people may fail to make it to the bathroom in a timely manner and so live with incontinence. Approximately one to two adults in every 100 live with adult nocturnal enuresis, where they are incontinent of urine while sleeping. If you are among this population, you are not alone.

Identifying the cause of the nighttime incontinence should include a consultation with your medical provider. This may help to direct the treatment if there is a solution, and offer direction to help manage the incontinence.

Toilet paper, capsules and alarm clock on black background

Strategies to help you with nighttime incontinence from the National Association for Continence and Mayo Clinic include the following:

  • Limit your fluid intake later in the day, with dinner, and prior to bed.
  • Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol (both are known bladder irritants, especially if consumed later in the day).
  • Avoid acid foods (known bladder irritant).
  • Elevate your lower legs later in the afternoon. This will assist in stimulating the flow of fluid to your kidneys and eventually the ability for your body to rid itself of the fluids.
  • Void the bladder before bedtime, even if you do not feel the need to void.
  • Wear absorbent briefs during the night; ensure proper fitting and absorbency to match the needs.
  • Quit smoking(known bladder irritant).
  • Eat more fiber to help prevent constipation.
  • Maintain a health weight.
  • Practice pelvic floor exercises.

Again, consider the listed strategies, consult with your medical provider to determine the cause(s), and a proper assessment can lead to treatment options to solve the problem or offer ways to manage the condition. Take these steps to minimize sleep disturbances and to increase your access to restorative sleep.

National Association for Continence (NAFC), Incontinence causes and about adult bedwetting: Retrieved from: on October, 26, 2018.
Mayo Clinic, Urinary incontinence: Retrieved from: on October 28, 2018.

Leave a Reply