Overactive Bladder and Sleep Problems
Overactive bladder (OAB) doesn’t pay attention to your personal schedule — it tends to cause problems around the clock. So, while you may have gained control over your daytime symptoms, things can go awry once you let your guard down as your head hits the pillow.
Luckily, there are a few techniques to help you get the shut eye you need for restful nights and more comfortable days.
Balance Fluid Intake
Carrying too much liquid in the bladder is obviously a recipe for trouble, but too little fluid can lead to concentrated urine that will irritate your bladder lining. Finding the sweet spot between the two extremes can take some time, but is well worth your effort.
One of the best ways to keep a good fluid balance is by drinking plenty throughout the day, then restricting liquids at night. A consistent water intake in the daylight hours will keep your body hydrated and your urine diluted, so you can stop drinking a few hours before bed and still stay comfortable.
Time Your Medication Properly
Certain medication for OAB and other conditions are meant to be taken at specific times, and it’s crucial you stick to those schedules. Diuretic medications commonly used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and liver or kidney disease are designed to drain water from your tissues, which means more urination — and less sleep if you take them too close to bedtime.
If you suspect one or more of your medications is complicating your bladder control, talk to your doctor about rearranging or augmenting your medications. A stronger commitment to healthy lifestyle changes can also help you ease off some bladder-disrupting medications, which can help you get a better sleep.
Don’t Let Fluid Build Up
Sometimes swelling in the extremities brings about bladder trouble, and if this is the case for you, practice some draining techniques. You can elevate your legs during the day with the help of a cushion or chair, which will keep fluid from pooling in your calves and ankles.
Compression socks or stockings are another helpful tool to ease fluid retention, since they are designed to increase circulation through your legs. Since legs and feet are generally less swollen in the morning, get into the habit of putting on your stockings right after you wake up, and wear them until you go to bed (but never sleep in them!)
Double-Void Before Hitting the Hay
The “double-voiding” technique can seem fruitless at first, but it has proven very helpful for some OAB sufferers. You probably use the bathroom soon before bed, which is always a good idea, but if you can urinate twice before falling asleep, you might be able to save yourself a nighttime trip to the bathroom.
Start your bedtime routine by visiting the bathroom, then move onto donning your pajamas, brushing your teeth, and setting the alarm clock. Right before you climb into bed, go pee again, even if you don’t feel like you need to. Sometimes draining your bladder just a bit more can go a long way toward a restful sleep.
Next page: four more solutions to help you sleep better despite OAB.