Nocturia is a common problem and becomes more common as we get older. Nocturia can upset a person’s sleep and put them at risk of falls when they get up in the dark to pass urine (wee).


Nocturia can be part of many common medical conditions, such as:

  • heart problems
  • kidney problems
  • poorly controlled diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)
  • swollen ankles
  • taking fluid tablets at night for bladder infections
  • an overactive bladder
  • constipation as a full bowel can press on the bladder
  • an enlarged prostate as this may not let the bladder empty out fully.

Other things that can lead to nocturia are

  • being pregnant
  • changing your position from upright in the day to lying flat at night – this increases blood flow to the kidneys and more urine is produced
  • having broken sleep as you may go to the toilet just because you are awake
  • consuming large amounts of fluid before going to bed at night
  • consuming alcohol or caffeine (e.g. coffee, chocolate and cola) before going to bed at night.


Tips for managing nocturia include:

  • cutting back on caffeine and alcohol – especially in the evening and before going to bed
  • reviewing the times you take fluid tablets
  • resting with your legs up for a few hours in the afternoon or evening.

Other tips for managing nocturia include:

  • lighting the path to the toilet
  • placing a commode or urinal to use next to your bed.

Your doctor may refer you to a Nurse Continence Specialist, continence physiotherapist or medical specialist to discuss other treatments with you. This may include medications to treat the nocturia or the underlying cause.

The importance of drinking fluids

Some people think if they cut down on how much fluid they drink through the day they may reduce nocturia. This is not correct. Drinking too little can cause you to become dehydrated. Being dehydrated makes the urine stronger (more concentrated). This can upset the bladder and make you need to go to the toilet more often. Dehydration can also lead to constipation.

Avoid being dehydrated as it can also cause:

  • low blood pressure
  • lack of energy
  • more risk of falls as you get older especially at night.


In many cases incontinence can be prevented, better managed and even cured. Talk to your doctor or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

The National Continence Helpline is staffed by Nurse Continence Specialists who offer free and confidential information, advice and support. They also provide a wide range of continence-related resources and referrals to local services.


Last Updated: Wed 26, Aug 2020
Last Reviewed: Mon 23, Mar 2020