How Can I Stop Nighttime Incontinence?: Why You Pee at Night and What to Do About It

Is a good night’s sleep too much to ask?

What happened to the times you could sleep through the night without having to get up to pee — not to mention wetting the bed?

And it doesn't matter if you pee before you go to bed. Nothing seems to help.

If you are tired of losing sleep because of nighttime incontinence, we can help.

Here we’ll talk about some causes of nighttime incontinence and what you can do to put an end to peeing in the night.

nighttime incontinence

Table of Contents

What Is Nighttime Incontinence?

Nighttime incontinence, aka nocturnal enuresis, is just a fancy name for wetting the bed.

While you know peeing the bed can be common for small children, the fact is that bed-wetting can also happen to adults.

Here’s how it works:

Imagine that your bladder is like a sink. Your urethra is the drain, and your kidneys are the water faucets.
Normally, your body produces an enzyme that concentrates your urine at night. So even though the water is on, it slows down while you sleep
But sometimes a person may have a condition that affects their nighttime bladder control and keeps the water on all the time. 
So, even though they have the same size sink, it is constantly filling up at night and making them have to pee.

If you're tired of waking up soaking wet due to nighttime incontinence, ONDRwear can help. We make incontinence underwear for men and women that are:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Super comfortable
  • Sustainable
  • Machine washable; and 
  • Naturally odor-free
how can i stop nighttime incontinence

6 Causes of Nighttime Incontinence and Strategies to Help

If you’re wanting to know, “How can I stop nighttime incontinence,” the answer isn’t cut and dried. 

The steps you will take to manage the problem will depend on what the bottom line issue is.

Let's take a look at 6 things that can cause nighttime incontinence and what you can do to stay dry while you sleep.

#1: Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to stop and start multiple times throughout the night. 

Sleep apnea can make you so sleepy that you don't know you have to pee — so sometimes you start to wet the bed

How can sleep apnea cause nighttime incontinence? When your body is in a deep sleep, it produces antidiuretic hormones that help you hold your pee overnight. 

But people with sleep apnea don't get into the deep stages of sleep. That means their bodies aren't making enough antidiuretic hormones to make their bladder hold their pee. And on top of that, every time their breathing is disturbed, their kidneys receive a message to excrete even more water.

One study showed that over 84% of sleep apnea patients suffer from frequent nighttime urination. In fact, peeing during the night is so common in sleep apnea patients that it has become a screening tool doctors use when they are diagnosing sleep apnea.

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from sleep apnea, your doctor will probably recommend a sleep study.

Depending on the results, he or she may present several options to help to deal with your nighttime incontinence, including: 

  • Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or losing weight
  • Treatment for allergies
  • Wearing a CPAP machine while you sleep
  • Using an oral appliance to keep your airways open during the night
  • Elemental oxygen; or in severe cases
  • Surgery

#2: Constipation

Believe it or not, if you're wetting the bed in the night, it may have a lot to do with the last time you pooped.

If your bowels aren't emptying properly, it can cause you to suffer from nighttime incontinence.

The bottom line, (pun intended), is that overly stuffed bowels can: 

  • Put pressure on your bladder
  • Increase how often you pee; and 
  • Result in your body being unable to hold your pee

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Constipation

What are some ways to stop nighttime incontinence caused by constipation? 

  • Drink more water throughout the day
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as:
    • Beans
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Avocados
    • Nuts
    • Broccoli; and
    • Plenty of whole grains
  • Take a fiber supplement; and 
  • Exercise regularly
stop nighttime incontinence

#3: Foods and Drinks

Did you know that certain foods and drinks — and when you consume them — can play a huge part in nighttime incontinence?

Some foods and drinks are diuretics and can irritate your bladder, causing you to pee more than you normally do.

And if you're suffering from nighttime bladder control, timing can be everything. For example, if you drink a couple of glasses of iced tea with your supper, you may find yourself waking up on damp sheets. 

Putting some thought into what you're eating and drinking and when can be a huge help when trying to figure out how to stop incontinence at night.

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Foods and Drinks

Try avoiding these foods and drinks to help with nighttime incontinence:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Clementines
  • Apples
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes.
  • Raw onions 
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Vinegar
  • Coffee
  • Tea — including herbal blends containing black or green tea
  • Apple juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Carbonated drinks
  • ​​All alcoholic beverages; and
  • Lemon juice

#4: Medication

We mentioned that certain foods can have a diuretic effect on your bladder, and some medications may have the same result. 

If you are someone who suffers from …

  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling
  • Kidney disease; or
  • Congestive heart failure 

… you may be prescribed diuretics to make you pee more in order to help your body get rid of extra salt or fluid.

But if you are taking diuretics before bedtime, your body is going to make a lot more pee during the night — which means you’ll be at a greater risk of wetting the bed as you sleep.

Sleeping pills can pose problems too, especially if they are causing you to be over sedated. Some sleeping medications can make you so groggy that you're not able to sense when your bladder has filled up.

Medications used to treat anxiety and depression can also be culprits when it comes to nighttime incontinence. These drugs make your body relax, including your bladder, which means you may not be as able to hold your pee as you sleep.

Here’s a list of a few meds that may contribute to nighttime incontinence:

  • Valium
  • Ativan
  • Ambien
  • Xanax
  • Librium
  • Hydrodiuril
  • Lasix; and
  • Maxzide

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Medication

So, what can you do if you are taking medication that's causing you to suffer from nighttime incontinence?

The #1 thing will be to consult your doctor. He or she will need to supervise any changes in the timing or dosage of your medications.

Your practitioner may try changing your medication or suggest that you take your meds earlier in the day. That way, your body won’t be creating more urine in the late afternoon and evening.

how can i stop nighttime incontinence

#5: Diabetes

If you suffer from diabetes, you have too much sugar, or glucose, in your blood. This means your kidneys have to work harder to get rid of the sugar, and they do it by making more urine.

If you have diabetes that is not under control, you're going to be making more pee throughout the day — and throughout the night.

Higher than normal levels of glucose can also cause nerve damage that can affect your bladder and result in nighttime incontinence.

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Diabetes

If you're suffering from diabetes and are wondering, “How can I stop nighttime incontinence,” talk with your doctor about bringing your glucose levels under control.

#6: Hormone Imbalance 

As you age, your body becomes depleted in certain hormones.

For example, as a woman goes through menopause, the estrogen level in her body decreases. The trouble is that estrogen plays a HUGE role in bladder support. 

As her estrogen levels decline, she may experience a more frequent (and more urgent) need to pee that can result in nighttime incontinence. 

Another key hormone is progesterone. If your progesterone levels are too high, you may also experience problems with nighttime bladder control.

How to Help Nighttime Incontinence Caused by Hormone Imbalance

If you think you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance that is causing incontinence at night, treatment is possible and may include hormone replacement. 

For a natural solution, you can find a doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement.

how to stop nighttime incontinence

When to See Your Doctor to Address Nighttime Incontinence

Peeing in the night may be the result of a serious medical condition. 

If you are an adult and begin having trouble with nighttime incontinence, go to a doctor. 

How Can a Doctor Help With Nighttime Incontinence?

If you visit a doctor for nighttime incontinence, he or she will ask you questions, such as:

  • When did you begin having trouble with nighttime bladder control?
  • How many times do you get up to pee each night?
  • Do you pee a lot or only a little?
  • Has the amount of pee changed over time?
  • Do you drink caffeine? How much and when?
  • Do you drink alcohol? How much and when?
  • What medications are you taking?
  • Are you normally a good sleeper?
  • Have you made any recent changes to your diet?

Taking the time to think through these answers before your appointment will give your doctor the information they need to help them determine the best way to give you relief.

Your doctor may also decide to do several tests, such as:

  • Urinalysis: Checks for any signs of infection
  • Cystometry: Identifies any problems in the way your bladder feels or empties
  • Cystoscopy: A small camera is used to examine the lining of your bladder and urethra
  • Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to create a picture of your bladder
  • CT scan: Provides an even more detailed picture of your bladder.
  • Sleep study: A non-invasive, overnight exam that monitors you as you sleep to see what's happening in your body and brain throughout the night.

Finally, depending on your symptoms, you may be referred to a specialist.

ONDRwear Incontinence Underwear Can Help Keep You Dry Day and Night

Created by urologist, Jessica Luban, ONDRwear is the perfect defense against nighttime incontinence.

Not only does ONDRwear help you wake up fresh and dry, but it’s also: 

  • Available for both men and women
  • Amazingly comfy
  • Eco-friendly
  • Sustainable
  • Machine washable; and 
  • Naturally odor-free

And ONDRwear comes in all of your favorite styles, including:

  • Thong
  • Bikini
  • Boy short; and
  • High-waisted brief
how can i stop nighttime incontinence