Um, so, last night I kinda peed the bed...
January 7, 2009 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Um, so, last night I kinda peed the bed...

...certainly never done it before. At least since post-infancy.

I was having a somewhat strange dream-- not really a nightmare, but one with some ominous elements. In the dream, I went to the bathroom, and then I peed a little bit, but then woke up immediately. There was very little urine, and I wasn't even certain that it had happened until I got up and went to the bathroom and checked.

What causes this? I've heard of it being stress or alcohol related. I wasn't drinking that night. I am a 27 year old woman in good health. I've definitely been under some stress lately, a lot of it "good stress," but not anymore so than usual. I tend to be a bit of an insomniac, and I haven't been sleeping very well lately. I have no history of urinary problems. I've never even had a UTI.

What does it mean? What should I do? I know YANAD, but any experiences or insight would be appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (27 answers total)
Kegel exercises might help.
posted by spec80 at 2:36 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I did this once about a year ago. It hasn't happened again since. If it doesn't repeat, I wouldn't worry about it. We do all kinds of things while we're dreaming; some people talk, wave their arms, get up and walk around, some people have sex in their sleep. Given all of that, it'd be more surprising if this never happened to anyone.
posted by EarBucket at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2009

It's happened to me before. Now, when I feel the urge to pee in a dream, I wake up and use the toilet. I unfortunately haven't been able to use the urge as a trigger to start a waking dream.
posted by pmbuko at 2:46 PM on January 7, 2009

In the dream, I went to the bathroom

That causes it. Luckily, its pretty rare we dream of peeing.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Have your sleep patterns been weird lately or are you on any medications which might make you sleep more deeply than normal? To me, your dream suggests that your body knew you needed to pee, but for whatever reason, it couldn't wake you up in time.

(This one time, my dad had a dream that he was being attacked by a sentient plant. During the fight, the plant stabbed him in the abdomen with one of its branches. He remembers the pain in the dream as being indescribable. The next morning he was still a little freaked out from the dream and when he went to the bathroom, he found he was pissing blood. Scared the shit out of him, he started examining himself for plant scars! Once he'd been to the doctor it turned out that he had a kidney problem which had caused both the bloody pee and the stabbing pains in the night. However, he'd been coming off a long period of night shifts and had built up a severe sleep debt, so even the extreme pain hadn't been enough to wake him. It had just gotten incorporated into a dream.)

If you're worried, see a doctor. It'll probably turn out to be no big deal, but at least you'll have peace of mind.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2009

And on re-reading the question, you actually specified your sleep has been screwy lately. So I get an F in reading comprehension, but an A for probably having the right idea. C average.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:55 PM on January 7, 2009

I had a dream like that once where I went into a bathroom stall , sat down, peed, woke up and realized too late I'd been asleep.This was when I was about eleven and hasn't happened again.

I know this wasn't a fun thing to happen to you, but I wouldn't worry about this too much. Mind-body disconnects happen.
posted by brujita at 2:57 PM on January 7, 2009

Yeah, this probably happens more than you think -- it's the dreaming about peeing. You had to go, it inserted itself into your dream, you didn't realize it was real. I would not worry about it, just be careful how much liquid you consume before bedtime, I guess...
posted by echo0720 at 3:03 PM on January 7, 2009

(I wish there was a way to answer anonymously!) I had that happen to me once a while back. I dreamed I was going to the toilet, and...oops. Hasn't happened before or since.

Earlier that evening, I had a couple of glasses of watermelon lemonade from Chevy's. Watermelon is a diuretic, which I didn't know until after the fact. Watch what you are eating and/or drinking before bedtime - caffeine, for instance, is a diuretic and can also mess up your sleep.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:07 PM on January 7, 2009

In the dream, I went to the bathroom

Yep, this is the reason.
posted by spatula at 3:08 PM on January 7, 2009

In the dream, I went to the bathroom

With no authority what-so-ever, I am not 100% convinced that the dream caused the reaction. It could be that the need to pee of your body caused the dream.
posted by Green With You at 3:13 PM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

I often dream of having to pee when my bladder's full. After one unfortunate incident when I was 6 or so, I now automatically wake myself up when it happens and get up to pee. I suspect that you'll be fine from now on.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:23 PM on January 7, 2009

Agreed that having a dream about going to the bathroom caused you to go to the bathroom. That's happened to me in the past and I've heard other people I know talk about that happening as well. Probably nothing to worry about.
posted by whatideserve at 3:30 PM on January 7, 2009

Yep, I remember this happening once. After that time I think my sub-concious put up a big post-it reminding itself wake me up before getting too far along with any dreams of urination.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:48 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

It happens, rarely. Happened to me once in highschool, but never since then. Just kinda scary how it can happen on nights when you're sleeping over someone's house or something, but it's so so rare that's probably not worth even thinking about.

Just a thought: aren't dreams supposed to be super short? Like, what seems like hours is actually dreamt in a second or so? I've heard that before, and if that's true, then I would think the dream maybe happened in a split of a second AFTER you started peeing? Same thing with dreaming of alarm clocks - I always thought the dream happened super quick when your brain first heard the alarm but didn't realize it had to wake up yet?
posted by KateHasQuestions at 3:56 PM on January 7, 2009

Don't worry about it unless it becomes a regular occurrence. And don't worry about it become a regular occurrence. It happens.
posted by Silvertree at 4:50 PM on January 7, 2009

It happens to me (with increasing rarity, I might add.)

However, the dream is always of me trying to catch one of those London Doubledecker buses (the ones with the step at the back), getting my foot on the edge of the step, and then slipping... and waking up having wet the bed.

I therefore agree with KateHasQuestions, that somehow the dream happens just after the event.
posted by blue_wardrobe at 5:47 PM on January 7, 2009

Yup--I was a teenager when it happened to me. Hasn't happened since, and that's been--umm--let's say a few decades ago.
posted by 6:1 at 5:48 PM on January 7, 2009

Happened to me once in college also, and I was also dreaming that I was peeing at the time.

Now, I make sure to try to go before I go to sleep and it hasn't happened since. Nthing that it's nothing to worry about unless it happens frequently.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:53 PM on January 7, 2009

See a doc if it happens again - gall bladder infection or gallstones or a kidney problem may be causing incontinence.

You dreamed you peed just a little - you needed to go, but probably not enough to wake you up when you went. Try to pay attention to see if you go more frequently, or have to "hold it" between regularly scheduled potty breaks more often than you remember.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:12 PM on January 7, 2009

I can say with confidence that this isn't a sign of a UTI.

And yeah, I wake up from dreams that I really have to pee to discover that it's true. I've never gone so far as to actually pee while dreaming, but it sounds like what everyone else says - you were sleeping too deeply to realize it consciously, so your subconscious tried to help.

Even worse: when I was six years old, I had a dream that I was violently throwing up all over myself after raising my hand in class to answer a question. I woke up to find that I was, thankfully, in my own bed but had indeed thrown up rather explosively.

It's like when your alarm goes off and it's incorporated into your dream rather than waking you up... only, with bodily fluids.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:27 PM on January 7, 2009

Never happened to me, but sounds perfectly normal.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:20 PM on January 7, 2009

I peed the bed when I was in high school, when I was about 18, and it mortified me. I thought I was regressing into a child. But I suppose it wasn't a big deal; it never happened again.
posted by zardoz at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2009

This happens to everyone at some point. One of those goofy brain things where you're like "hey I have to pee, but this seems real enough" and *bloop* you pee.

I once had a dream where I actually walked into the dream-bathroom, and started to pee, then realized there was no peestream-meets-water sound. I thought it was the weirdest thing, but just kept peeing. Then I felt all warm and wet and woke up.
posted by phrakture at 9:28 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Luckily, my recurring "pee" dream wakes me up in time. It's always the same scenario - in the dream I have to 'go' really bad, but every restroom I find is disgustingly dirty (I mean gag-inducing). It always wakes me up and although I'm confused for a few seconds ("Why did I wake up? Where am I, anyway?") I then realize I need to run to the bathroom.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2009

Another anecdote here:

One night when I was 13, I had a very involved dream which involved me going to the bathroom. I realized I was wet for real, and woke up. In my brother's room. Standing on a magazine. That I had just peed on.
posted by mynameismandab at 12:35 AM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

A friend has just experimentally disproved the claim that if you pee in your dream, you pee in real life. Last night, she had to pee really bad, and had a dream where she was looking for a bathroom. Eventually (after various surreal dream adventures) she found one and took advantage of it, but (and this seems noteworthy) she didn't feel any better afterwards. A little later she woke up in a dry bed, and realized she actully had to pee.

On hearing this story, my very first thought was that I had to come post about it here.

She notes: "Experimentally? I didn't try!"

But I say it still counts.
posted by moss at 8:15 PM on January 14, 2009

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