If you have an overactive bladder, you can try different sleeping positions to reduce the pressure on the bladder and relieve the pain. One of these positions is the fetal position, which has you bending your legs and drawing your knees toward your upper body. This position can reduce the pressure on your bladder and right shoulder. Some women even place a pillow under their abdomen and between their knees to relieve pressure on their bladder and back. However, this position is not recommended for everyone as it can shift organs and put a lot of weight on your heart.
If you want to improve your sleeping position, you should try to limit your fluid intake before bed. This will help you empty your bladder before going to bed. Additionally, you should try to stay away from foods and drinks that might trigger your overactive bladder. Food diaries can also be helpful in identifying triggers.
While it may be difficult to change your sleeping position, it is vital to try out various positions to find the one that is best for you. Some positions are more conducive to breathing than others, so it is important to decide what is most comfortable for you. Some positions may help to relieve joint pain and sleep apnea. You may also want to pay attention to your neck position. A slightly extended neck may make your breathing easier.
Overactive bladder (OAB) refers to a group of urinary symptoms, the most prominent of which is a sudden, urgent need to urinate.
Research has estimated that its prevalence in the United States is between 16.5 and 35.6 percent.
OAB happens when your bladder muscles involuntarily contract when your bladder isn’t full. While the exact cause is unknown, this may happen due to improper signaling between your brain and bladder. It may also be caused by bladder muscles that are too active.
Living with OAB can greatly impact your quality of life since it may be hard to do daily activities without frequent trips to the bathroom. Because OAB can come on suddenly, you may also feel anxious if you’re not close to a bathroom.
Sleep can also be affected. It’s estimated that 85.6 percent of people with OAB have nocturia, which is when you wake up multiple times at night to urinate. Poor sleep can have negative consequences on both your physical and mental health.
If you have OAB, you may be wondering if certain sleep positions may help reduce your need to urinate at night. Keep reading as we explore this topic and other ways to promote a good night’s sleep with OAB.
There’s not currently much specific research into what’s the best sleeping position for OAB. A general rule of thumb is to select one that’s both comfortable to you, leads to restful sleep, and doesn’t contribute to pain upon waking.
There are a few points about OAB, sleep, and body position that are important to know. Let’s examine these now.
Sleep apnea has been linked to OAB symptoms in both men and women. This may be due to the effects of apnea events, which can cause low tissue oxygen in the body, including in the urinary system. However, more research is still needed.
If you have sleep apnea and OAB, sleeping on your side may help. It’s estimated that moving from sleeping on the back to sleeping on the side can eliminate sleep apnea symptoms in about 20 percent of people.
Managing sleep apnea can also help with your OAB symptoms. A 2021 study found that participants who used continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or surgery for sleep apnea had a significant reduction in OAB symptoms.
It may seem counterintuitive, but making some adjustments to your body positioning during the day may lend you a hand at night.
Lying down can actually contribute to increased urination. Research from 2009 on people with nocturia found that fluid accumulation in the legs during the day is associated with increased urine volume at night.
This is because the fluid that’s built up in your legs while you’re upright is better distributed into your bloodstream when you lie down. Since your kidneys filter excess fluids from the bloodstream, this can contribute to urine production.
Elevating your legs throughout the day and wearing compression socks may help to redistribute fluids back into your bloodstream during this time instead of letting them accumulate. This may help prevent multiple bathroom trips in the middle of the night.
This may be particularly helpful if you have OAB and another health condition that causes fluid buildup in the legs and ankles. A few examples include:
Similar to sleeping positions, there’s not really any research into what type of mattress is optimal for OAB. When looking for a mattress, it’s important to find one that maximizes comfort while providing support for your body.
Research from 2015 suggests that a medium-firm mattress is best for sleep quality, comfort, and spinal support. However, you’ll need to take your specific needs into account as well, such as:
Some people with OAB may also experience something called urge incontinence. This is when a strong urge to urinate comes on and urine leaks out before you can get to the bathroom.
If you find that you experience urge incontinence due to OAB, you may consider using protective products for your bed and mattress. Some examples include:
There are several things that you can do to help prevent having to pee at night due to OAB. These include:
Since coping with nocturia due to OAB can be stressful, it’s also a good idea to make sure your bedroom is an environment that promotes sleep. A few things to consider include:
If you have OAB, there are various treatments that can help. These include both medical treatments and things you can do at home.
Sticking to your OAB treatment plan can help prevent frequent trips to the bathroom, both during the day and at night. Let’s take a look at some of the treatment options for OAB now.
Some of the steps that you can take at home to manage OAB include:
Tracking when you need to urinate with a bladder diary can also give you more information on how factors like fluid intake and foods impact your symptoms. It can also help you track the progress of bladder training.
There are prescription medications that are available to help with OAB. A doctor may recommend them when at-home care isn’t helping to manage your symptoms.
Medications for OAB may be given as a pill, gel, or transdermal patch. These include:
These medications work by blocking certain types of nerve impulses to the bladder muscles. This can prevent these muscles from contracting when they shouldn’t.
If at-home care and the use of medications don’t lead to improvement, other potential medical treatments for OAB include:
Sleep is important for both your physical and mental health. Poor sleep can impact your alertness and memory, increase your stress levels, and raise your risk of health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you find that your OAB symptoms cause you to frequently get up to use the bathroom at night. They can recommend methods to help reduce your urinary frequency.
It’s also a good idea to talk with a doctor if the strategies you’re currently using to prevent nocturia become less effective or stop working. It’s possible that your OAB treatment plan may need to be adjusted.
Many people with OAB experience nocturia, which is frequent urination at night. There’s no single sleeping position that’s optimal for OAB. Generally speaking, it’s best to choose one that’s most comfortable for you while promoting good sleep.
Side sleeping may be the best option if you have both OAB and sleep apnea. Elevating your legs throughout the day may also help to reduce the need to urinate at night for some people.
Other ways to reduce nocturia with OAB include limiting fluids in the evening and double voiding before bed. Treatments like bladder training, pelvic floor exercises, and medications can help to improve your overall OAB symptoms.
Talk with a doctor if you have OAB that interferes with your sleep or if your methods of limiting nocturia stop being effective. They can help recommend other ways that may help to help reduce urination frequency at night.