Is Using the Bathroom in the Middle of the Night Normal?

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Find out what's typical, what's not, and what may be causing the problem.

Typically, the amount of urine that the body produces decreases at night, allowing most people to sleep for six to eight consecutive hours without waking up to use the bathroom. However, some folks wake up in the middle of the night to urinate, which interrupts the sleep cycle. While it’s normal for this to happen occasionally—such as after a late dinner or a few too many drinks before bedtime—if this becomes frequent, it could be a symptom that your body has reduced its capacity for holding urine, a problem that's technically called "nocturia." (If you wake up to urinate in the middle of the night for several days in a row, call your health care provider.) There are several possible causes, including the following.

Drinking Too Many Fluids Close to Bedtime. Sipping caffeine, or alcohol after dinner is likely to make you head to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and so will drinking excessive amounts water. Cutting back on beverages in the evening may solve the issue.

Medications. Certain drugs—particularly diuretics and cold medicines—could impact your bladder and crank up the frequency of needing to urinate.

Aging. As people get older, they need to urinate more frequently. This is due to changes in the bladder wall: It’s not able to hold as much urine. Plus, bladder muscles get weaker with age.

Prostate Problems. Men suffering from prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate can have difficulty holding in urine.

Urinary Tract Infection. Frequently waking up to urinate at night is often a sign of a urinary tract infection for both adults and children. For kids, it could also be a sign of possible juvenile diabetes.

Pregnancy. Regularly waking up to use the bathroom is often a sign of early pregnancy. Post-pregnancy, frequent urination can signify bladder prolapse and pelvic organ prolapse, which places extra pressure on the urinary tract, hence the need to pee.

Interstitial Cystitis and Radiation Cystitis. This condition, which is inflammation of the bladder, can make it difficult for the bladder to function normally.

Chronic Diseases. Frequent urination at night could be a sign of a chronic disease, including heart disease, vascular disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, restless leg syndrome, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or sleep apnea.