Sleep is essential for our overall health and wellness. Although sleep alludes to many of us especially if bladder leaks are keeping you up at night.


Sleep Eluding You?

I bet as you’ve gotten older the quality of your sleep has steadily decreased. Busy schedules increased stress, and poor work-life balance is some of the reasons why a good night’s sleep can be so elusive. Experts have long recommended 6-8 hours for adults. Why?  Because poor sleep is linked to a number of health problems, conditions, and diseases.

Have you ever tossed and turned most of the night with little or no sleep? The next day it can be difficult to stay awake but a lack of sleep can also affect concentration and reduce productivity. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can be energizing, improve problem-solving skills and memory.

Several studies have also shown the people who sleep less than 6 hours per night have an increased risk of several major health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and increased risk of stroke. Chronic poor sleep has also been shown to increase inflammation in the body. Recent research has linked poor sleep to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

Lastly, less than 6 hours of quality sleep has been associated with depression. According to the National Institutes of Health, 90% of people with depression complain about poor sleep quality.


Nighttime Bladder Leaks (AKA Nocturia)

Nocturia is a condition when one wakes up several times per night to urinate. It may or may not involve leakage or incontinence. It is normal to wake up once to go to the bathroom and as we age even twice. The problem arises however when you cannot go back to sleep in a timely manner. Tossing and turning after each bathroom trip can contribute to poor sleep quality.

There are several causes for nighttime bathroom trips. As previously stated, as we get older, bladder leaks can become more frequent and bothersome. Additional causes for nocturia include drinking too much at night, weak bladder muscles or bladder dysfunction. Some medications, like diuretics taken at night can stimulate the body to release water. If you take any diuretics or water pills and wake up frequently at night, consider asking your physician if you can take them earlier in the day to avoid getting up to use the bathroom.

It is completely normal to get up frequently at night during the latter stages of pregnancy due to the growing baby and pressure on the bladder.


Improve Your Sleep

To improve sleep quality, it is important to seek help if you are getting up more than 2 times because of the urge to get up to go to the bathroom. This is especially important if you are unable to return back to sleep quickly.
There is help for nocturia. Professionals who are trained in treating the pelvic floor can help. This condition responds well to bladder training along with muscle strengthening.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, don’t procrastinate and seek help as soon as possible. There are many strategies, for example using sleep hygiene techniques, that you can try to improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

When self-help efforts are not successful, it is time to discuss your sleep issues with your physician who can provide treatment or additional suggestions as necessary.  Connect with a pelvic health coach or physical therapist if you are dealing with night-time bladder leaks or if you wake up more than twice per night to go to the bathroom. As noted above, bladder retraining and pelvic muscle strengthening are very effective in reducing nighttime bathroom trips.

Do you have questions?  Then visit my profile to learn more about me and how I can help you manage bladder leaks and get a good night’s sleep.

Shelia Craig Whiteman

Shelia Craig Whiteman

Dr. Shelia Craig Whiteman DPT, CLT is a doctor of physical therapy and a health coach. While practicing physical therapy, she specialized in pelvic health, lymphedema, and oncology. As a health coach, Dr. Shelia is particularly passionate about helping women to reduce and stop bladder leaks.

She is the best-selling author of “To Pee or Not To Pee?” The Guide for Reducing and Eliminating Urinary Incontinence. Her second book, Stop Worrying About Bladder Leaks, further explains how and why bladder leaks can happen. As an advocate for health and wellness, she participates in several educational presentations and volunteer activities in her community.

Dr. Shelia is a certified fitness instructor and has taught fitness and pilates classes over the past 20 years. She lives with her family in Mitchellville, Maryland.

Watch Dr. Shelia’s video on Bladder Leaks here: