A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medication shows that insomnia symptoms are worsened by nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, but does not cause them. The researchers concluded that nocturia provides a stimulus for waking and leads to increased time awake, compounded by turning on the lights and traveling to the bathroom. They were unable to determine whether the need for urination occurs before or after waking.
The study was prompted by surveys from older adults who indicated that nocturia disturbs their sleep and triggers their insomnia, with the majority of these adults reporting it as the only cause of wakefulness. The surveys also indicated that frequent night time urination worsened daytime sleepiness and degraded the quality of sleep obtained.
The National Association for Continence suggests keeping a two-day diary of fluids ingested, tracking drinking patterns and the amount voided. Nocturia has only a few treatment options available. Restrict fluid intake in the evenings, elevate the legs and wear compression stockings to reduce fluid build up. The NAC also suggests taking an afternoon nap.
The study in the JCSM concludes that until it has been determined whether nocturia causes the wakefulness or results shortly afterwards, treatment is still experimental.