How to break the habit of peeing whenever I wake up at night?
August 29, 2021 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Id: you just woke up. Whenever you wake up, you pee.

Superego: But I don't actually have to go.

Id: I'm not going to let you go to sleep until you do.

Superego: But if I give in to your tantrum you'll do the same stuff again.

Id: but I will suddenly cause a sensation as if you have to. No sleep!

Superego: I will resist.

Id: I think you really need to sleep tonight. And that requires peeing.

Superego: Fine. Whatever. (Doesn't have much pee)

Id: Now that you got up, can we discuss A League of Their Own. I can absolutely prove Dottie dropped the ball on purpose, mind checking my proof?
posted by Easy problem of consciousness to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For me, I have noticed that deeper/drugged sleep means less frequent night peeing. If I take melatonin or Benadryl before bed, I am more likely to sleep through the night. I don't have good advice beyond that, though.
posted by vegartanipla at 6:40 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I skip the part where I argue with myself about it, which means I'm still sleepier by the time I'm done, and I (mostly) get to skip the discussing-A-League-Of-Their-Own phase.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:47 PM on August 29, 2021 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I started sleeping a lot better when I just got up immediately. Please note that I have major issues with interoception, so I never had any of these arguments with myself because it took me yeeeeears to realize the problem was I needed to pee (even if barely). I would just wake up for no discernible reason and not be able to get back to sleep. Then I discovered getting up to pee means I can immediately go back to sleep. Which suggests to me that it's not a habit so much as something going on in my body keeping me awake. So I'm on team "just don't argue with yourself"--get up and do it and you'll get back to sleep much quicker.
posted by brook horse at 7:18 PM on August 29, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I read someone on the Internet say their New Years Resolution was to get up immediately when they woke up needing to pee instead of wasting time arguing with themselves about it and I thought that was so silly but now I do it and guess what my life is better, sometimes your id is right.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 7:24 PM on August 29, 2021 [20 favorites]

Could be biological factors: drinking diuretics later in the day (coffee/tea), low sodium intake, elevated glucose will all increase urine production.
posted by michaelh at 7:32 PM on August 29, 2021

Best answer: I've found that arguing with myself sometimes is better. I was in the habit of getting up to pee any time I woke up, and I do think it really was a habit. A side effect of some medication I was taking for unrelated reasons broke that routine, and it mostly hasn't come back despite not being on the medication for years.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:41 PM on August 29, 2021

My mother always taught me that if you wake up in the middle of the night, it's because you have to pee. I assume that's why those things are linked.

I second that a drugged sleep means you wake up less.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:42 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

I read an article where a doctor said that most urinary incontinence is caused by even mild constipation. When I eat lots of fiber, I wake up less during the night having to pee. And, in general, as a post-menopausal person, have fewer mad trips to the loo.
posted by theora55 at 8:08 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

I can't find the source, but I read that there is a stimulating factor on the bladder through the waking up process, or upon waking. The act of waking, or nearing waking, stimulates the valve holding in the urine thus making the desire to pee. If true, then there is no point trying to fight it. Get up, pee, get back to bed.

When I eat lots of fiber, I wake up less during the night having to pee.

Me too. I think it is fibre absorbing water from my colon.
posted by Thella at 8:31 PM on August 29, 2021

This is me. It sucks! But you just gotta pee. I owe, then go back to bed.

If you have other sleep issues, consider getting a sleep study. Sleep apnea can contribute to this.
posted by wooh at 8:49 PM on August 29, 2021

Nthing that I just get up and do it fast. One of the things that helps me get back to sleep is that I have a night light in the bathroom, etc., so I don't need to turn on any lights to go to and back from the bathroom.
posted by gudrun at 8:56 PM on August 29, 2021

Do you snore? If you have a history of snoring you might want to get tested for sleep apnea. I was tested and got a confirmation that I have it, which allowed me to get a CPAP machine. Using that machine has almost completely eliminated my waking up to pee at night (the one tradeoff: often in the morning I have to pretty much jump out of bed first thing when my alarm goes off, because I reeeeeeally have to go).

The way the sleep clinician explained it to me is that, if you have apnea, your brain sends your body signals when you're asleep and not breathing, in order to wake you up and re-start your breathing. Peeing is basically the most extreme of those signals - it's your brain jumping up and down saying HEY YOU BETTER WAKE UP OR YOU'LL BE IN TROUBLE.

Even if you're not actually peeing all that much when your brain wakes you up, sleep apnea and its prevention might be something you want to explore.
posted by pdb at 9:17 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Wake up and pee! If it's the lights waking you up, consider getting a night light for your bedroom and bathroom so that you can make your way there and back half asleep.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:56 PM on August 29, 2021

That superego sounds like a complete pain in the arse. I wish your id every success in its ongoing efforts to knock it down a peg or two. Superegos totally convinced they know the best way to run a body, especially mere seconds after waking up, are just the worst.
posted by flabdablet at 10:27 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd talk to a doctor about this, especially if this is happening a lot.

I had this happen to me, as an AFAB person. Went to the doc, got some scans done, and it turned out that I had a fibroid that was pressing on my bladder. Turns out that Fibroids run in my family, and we grow them aggressively. Got that removed via a VERY welcome and wanted Hysterectomy, and problem is mostly gone!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:28 PM on August 29, 2021

I have never regretted getting up and peeing. I have only regretted not peeing. I would work on calming my mind when I get back in bed. Have a pre-planned thing to think about such as being on a beach with a cool off shore breeze.
posted by AugustWest at 12:33 AM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is normal once you reach a certain age. The only way I have found to stop it is not to drink anything in the evening.
posted by kenchie at 1:50 AM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

As a 62-year-old woman this happens to me all the time. The way I deal with it is to pee as much as I can before the light goes off. I wear a sleep mask and I have two low-glare amber light motion-activated nightlights - one in the bedroom and one in the hallway outside the bathroom, both at floor level. If (when) I have to get up to pee, I barely raise my sleep mask, just enough to see a little, and the amber light provides enough illumination to see where I'm going (plus muscle memory guides me).

I find that reducing the amount of light if I have to get up definitely enables me to pee and fall back to sleep again.
posted by essexjan at 2:24 AM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

To help with the 'persuading yourself up to pee quickly', keep a nice cosy dressing gown or blanket within reach of the bed so you can drag it round your shoulders for the trip to the bathroom. For me a lot of the not wanting to get up is not wanting to get cold when I get out from under the covers.
posted by penguin pie at 3:17 AM on August 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

Not drugged exactly, but when I remember to take my nortriptyline at night, the next thing I know it's morning.

If I forget, I'm up two or three times in the night. It really PsMO.
posted by james33 at 3:29 AM on August 30, 2021

My years of peeing at night also stopped (like pdb's) when I started using a cpap maching.
posted by jazh at 4:54 AM on August 30, 2021

I know your problem isn't really related to actually needing to pee, but when pregnant I discovered that peeing TWICE before bed really helped a lot, and it might help convince your body that you really really don't need to. You pee, then do all the rest of the things you need to do before bed, and then pee again.
posted by metasarah at 6:35 AM on August 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

If I do have to get up in the middle of the night, I find that I get back to sleep easier (and I know this is ridiculous) if I keep my eyes closed the whole time I am out of bed.
posted by Night_owl at 7:05 AM on August 30, 2021

Best answer: I do two things that help with this:
1. Stop drinking water at about 7:30pm so I don't even kinda have to pee
2. When I wake up, I keep my eyes closed and immediately start box breathing (probably not technically correct, but I breathe in for 2 slow counts, hold for 2, then out for 4). This both takes over the chatter in my head and also helps me calm down and fall back asleep.
posted by beyond_pink at 10:25 AM on August 30, 2021 [2 favorites]

This may sound nutty, but when I get up in the middle of the night to pee, I only open one eye at a time. It somehow makes me feel like I'm still half asleep, and so I skip the "she definitely dropped the ball on purpose because she knew it was her sister's dream, not hers" phase and fall back to real sleep faster. I've been doing this for years in the face of chronic insomnia, and it really does work!
posted by decathecting at 11:42 AM on September 1, 2021

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