Nocturia: What is it & How It’s Related to Sleep Apnea?

The medical condition of nocturia, or frequent urination at night, affects millions of people in the United States who are unaware of its existence.

It has become difficult for many due to nocturia to fall asleep, which leads to a degrading quality of life.

We all need good sleep to function sanely, which is why a good night’s rest is vital to feeling vitality tomorrow. Any less than six hours of sleep every night prevents the body and brain from recovering from the previous day’s activities and enables fatigue to set in.

It is natural for the quantity and quality of our sleep to change from day to day. Both our physical and mental energy has been depleted due to this. Every time we go through an interrupted night of sleep, we feel worse.

Nocturia And Sleep Apnea

Nocturia And Sleep Apnea

But, it is not usual for sleep to be constantly disrupted. Nocturia is a possibility if this describes your situation.

While urinary issues are more commonly associated with the elderly or those with pre-existing health disorders, this is not always the case.

Sleep disruption, drowsiness throughout the day, and a heightened risk of hazardous falls have all been linked to frequent restroom breaks.

In addition, nocturia is a challenging symptom to identify due to the wide variety of diseases and disorders associated with it. In this article, we’ll define “nocturia” and discuss why this condition is often linked to sleep apnea.



Nocturia is defined medically as nighttime urination that occurs in excess, but how much is too much?

Doctors define nocturia, or nighttime urination, as occurring when a person gets up more than once in the 6-8 hours they should sleep to go to the toilet.

Commonly known as nighttime urination, the prevalence of nocturia is roughly the same in both sexes, although several causes can exacerbate its severity.

It’s natural to get up once throughout the night to urinate, but if it happens frequently, it might be an indication of a problem.

Nocturia may occur in tandem with daytime urinary frequency, or it may occur on its own. In addition, there is a difference between polyuria (too much urine) and nocturia (urinating often).

Causes of Nocturia

Sleep disturbances, insufficient bladder capacity, and nighttime urination are the three most common nocturia causes. However, these problems might all have different root causes.

1. Excessive Urination During Sleep

Excessive Urination During Sleep

Up to 88% of nocturia instances can be attributed to nocturnal polyuria or extra urine production throughout the night.

Excessive urination can affect some people all day and all night long. This world-spanning urination is known medically as global polyuria, and it’s frequently associated with things like diabetes and impaired kidney function.

Diuretics, such as certain drugs or substances like alcohol or caffeine, can also increase urination.

If you drink more fluids at night, you may experience more nocturnal urination. This is because when a person goes from sitting to lying down, the fluid accumulating in their legs, known as peripheral edema, might shift to other parts of their body.

Nighttime urination increases the risk of peripheral edema, which pre-existing medical conditions can cause.

It may partially explain increased nocturia in the elderly because, as people age, their circadian rhythm shifts, causing them to urinate more frequently at night.

2. Urinary Frequency And Reduction in Bladder Capacity

Urinary Frequency And Reduction in Bladder Capacity

Nocturia can be caused by a combination of a smaller bladder capacity and more frequent urination, even in the absence of increased pee output throughout the night.

Bladder capacity can be affected by several factors, but urinary tract infections (UTIs) are prevalent. In addition, overactive bladder and enlarged prostate are some conditions that might cause these symptoms.

Several causes might reduce bladder capacity and increase urine frequency, leading to nocturia, including an intense need to urinate, UTIs, and bladder stones.

3. Disruptions in Sleep

Disruptions in Sleep

Nighttime urine is often blamed for waking people up, but there is also strong evidence that sleep issues play a significant role in triggering episodes of nocturia.

One such condition is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which a person’s breathing temporarily ceases many times throughout the night. Approximately half of those who have OSA also experience nocturia.

Chronic obstructive apnea decreases airflow and oxygen levels frequently during sleep and affects hormones in a way that causes more frequent urination.

In addition, the sleep disruptions experienced by those with OSA increase the likelihood that they may become aware of the urge to pee throughout the night.

Experts disagree on whether sleep disruptions are caused by nocturia or vice versa, regardless of whether or not OSA is present. However, suppose you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or cannot sleep after getting up to use the bathroom.

This could mean that you are dealing with Insomnia which is one of the sleeping disorders.

Studies on the aged suggest that those who sleep more lightly are more likely to get nocturia. In general, seniors spend less time in the deepest sleep phases, making them easier to awaken.

As a result, nocturia occurs to them and makes it urgent to urinate.

Nocturia is more common in older people because, as previously said, they tend to urinate more frequently throughout the night. And because they don’t sleep as soundly throughout the day, the problem is aggravated.

This illustrates that nocturia can be triggered by a confluence of circumstances, including trouble sleeping.

How is Nocturia Related to Sleep Apnea?

How is Nocturia Related to Sleep Apnea

Including Insomnia, sleep apnea and nocturia are the other two types of sleep disorders that impact the quality of life of a person by decreasing sleep.

If nighttime urination is already a problem, you may be curious about its origins.

The first thing you should do if you’re experiencing nocturia is to consult a doctor. Knowing the relationship between nocturia and sleep apnea might also be helpful.

In light of growing evidence, it’s becoming increasingly accepted that nocturia is a common symptom of sleep apnea and is sometimes even utilized as a diagnostic technique.

Researchers found that almost nine in ten people with sleep apnea also had nighttime urination problems. In addition, as many people with sleep apnea admitted to snoring as had the condition itself, making this a significant finding from the same research.

Sleep Apnea Episode

Sleep Apnea Episode

It is speculated that a physiological domino effect could be created by the collapse of the throat’s soft tissues during a sleep apnea episode.

Due to the lack of oxygen, the patient’s heart rate accelerates, their pulmonary blood vessels constrict, their carbon dioxide levels rise, and their blood becomes more acidic.

The body registers this system-wide reaction and gradually prompts the subject to awaken to reopen the airway.

One’s ability to rouse oneself from sleep apnea and resume breathing normally varies from person to person. As a result, their resting heart rate will be higher when they finally do awaken.

Rapid heart rate increases may trick the body into thinking it has a fluid overload and has to urinate to get rid of excess salt and water.

One possible consequence of sleep apnea is frequent urination due to the body’s attempt to rid itself of the excess fluids produced by the several times breathing stops occur during the night.

Sleep apnea may be the root cause of the patient’s nocturia, even if the patient is unaware of the condition.

CPAP For Sleep Apnea

CPAP For Sleep Apnea

You can also try CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) therapy for Nocturia and sleep apnea.

CPAP is a treatment that decreases the frequency of night-time nocturnal urine volume to improve the quality of life (QOL) in OSAS patients.

After CPAP treatment, there is a noteworthy reduction in night-time nocturnal urine volume and urine electrolyte contents.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy frequently treats obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine connects to a mask or nosepiece through a hose to provide consistent and stable air pressure to assist with breathing while you sleep.

Dealing With Nocturia And Enhancing Sleep Quality

Dealing With Nocturia And Enhancing Sleep Quality

To maintain good health and well-being, treating nocturia is crucial because of the detrimental effects of poor sleep on the body. If you get up several times just to urinate and have trouble falling asleep, visit a doctor to improve the situation.

Treating and managing any underlying disorders that might cause or exacerbate nocturia is crucial.

Your doctor may suggest making significant lifestyle adjustments to address nocturia if you already have or can manage any underlying illnesses. Among the most important things you may do are:

  • A few hours before bed, try limiting your fluid consumption.
  • Abstaining from alcohol or reducing your consumption
  • You should limit your caffeine intake to the morning to prevent bladder discomfort.
  • Take diuretics with caution, or try another drug.
  • If you suffer from peripheral edema, try sleeping with your legs slightly elevated before lying down.
  • Maintain a regular bedtime routine.
  • Create a ritual for bedtime.
  • Practice different ways of relaxing
  • Consistently engaging in physical activity
  • Prepare a cozy bed by checking the linens, pillows, and mattress.
  • Silencing electronic devices and dimming the lights before bed
  • Having a colder room temperature when sleeping
  • Put away the gadgets an hour before you want to sleep.
  • Install motion-detecting, low-wattage lights for bathroom trips to reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Think about trying nocturia drugs suggested by your doctor.
  • Start and stick to CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) therapy if you are diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea).

Long-term, consistent lifestyle adjustments can alleviate nocturia symptoms, allowing for better sleep of more significant duration and quality. However, if these adjustments haven’t helped and you’re still feeling weary, it’s okay to plan to nap in the afternoon.

If you’re feeling fatigued, it’s preferable to take a short nap for around 30 minutes than to attempt to struggle through the day. Sleep is crucial to our efficiency, health, and wellness.

If nocturia persists despite these measures, your doctor may advise you to use a mattress protector, absorbent briefs, skin care products, or intermittent self-catheterization to empty your bladder before bed or periodically throughout the night.


Don’t worry if nighttime urination is something you’re dealing with right now. The good news is that if your nocturia is due to untreated sleep apnea, it disappears once you become CPAP compliant.

We know that the effects of sleep apnea include an increased danger of cardiovascular disease and stroke. These factors provide substantial motivation for patients to make CPAP work for them.

However, compliance with your therapy is essential to get the restorative sleep you need and avoid the adverse effects of sleep apnea.

If you have nocturia or have to get up to urinate frequently during the night, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about it.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!