connection between bladder capacity and dreams
August 6, 2006 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I have a very small bladder which typically gets me up 2-3 times a night, which can be quite annoying. I've noticed that on the nights I try to "resist the urge" and just hold it, I usually have extremely bizarre and often very upsetting dreams/nightmares. Could there be a connection? Has anyone else ever experienced something similar?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, but usually mine are nightmares about how badly I need to pee.

I just get up and go take care of it. It can be annoying, especially if I've been drinking a lot the night before and have to do it more than once, but I doubt it's as annoying as wetting the bed.
posted by Tuwa at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2006

Yes, when I really have to pee, my dreams always seem to center on needing to find a bathroom. Sometimes I find one and it's too disgusting to use, or there's something blocking me from reaching it. But the scenarios surrounding the search are always among my strangest of dreams.

I remember once when I was many years away from when I should have been bed-wetting (probably 12 or so), I dreamed that I peed in a nice clean toilet and and I ended up peeing my bed. I've always had somewhat of fear I'd do that again.
posted by ferociouskitty at 8:37 AM on August 6, 2006

You might want to see a doctor. "A very small bladder" can be a number of things, including stress, kidney issues, diabetes, prostate problems, just to name a few.
posted by gramcracker at 8:53 AM on August 6, 2006

Ferociouskitty and I apparently share the same dream-brain, because I've had the clean-toilet dream too. I'm usually not aware it's a bathroom I'm searching for until I wake up, but the landscape I move through is always very strange, and what's worse, always makes sense at the time.
posted by casarkos at 8:58 AM on August 6, 2006

gramcracker is right, it's doctor time.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:47 AM on August 6, 2006

You generally tend to dream more when you're sleeping uncomfortably or less deeply. I don't think it's inherently linked to your bladder.
posted by borkingchikapa at 11:43 AM on August 6, 2006

2-3 times is a lot, unless you sleep for 30 hours. if you're a guy, it's prostate examination time
posted by matteo at 12:51 PM on August 6, 2006

You should see a doctor. Even if you were just born that way, it's interrupting your REM sleep, which is why you have such memorable dreams on the occasions you have enough time to get deep into sleep.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 1:40 PM on August 6, 2006

On mornings when I need to use the bathroom really badly, I tend to have dreams about giving birth because apparently my brain parses "really full bladder" to mean "really full uterus". I'm sure that if I ever have a child, my brain will learn how very wrong it's been.
posted by eilatan at 2:10 PM on August 6, 2006

I don't normally have to go to the bathroom in the night, but if I do, and I resist, I notice the same odd dreaming situation that you do. But I also notice that odd dreaming situation in the mornings when I'm drifting in and out of sleep as I use the snooze button. I think your need to pee is keeping you from sleeping deeply, and thus giving you the much stranger dreams that most people get when they aren't sleeping properly. Because you're not sleeping deeply, you'll also remembering the dreams more and dreams are, well, weird, most of the time.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:26 PM on August 6, 2006

Oh man. Do I sympathise.

2-3 times a night is not good. As Mr Gunn has pointed out above, you're not getting a sound nights sleep and it's playing havoc with your dreams.

It might be that you have a sensative bladder, not a small one. Caffeine can irritate the bladder, as I found out, and this sets you up for infections and all sorts of fun.

I Am Not A Doctor, but try what worked for me - cut out all forms of caffeine for two weeks (hell, I know, but trust me), drink lots of water and cranberry juice (to dilute the urine and make it alkaline which also reduces irritation) and you should start to experience the twin joys of sleeping right through the night and one heck of a satisfying morning pee.
posted by ninazer0 at 3:32 PM on August 6, 2006

Yes, I've had that happen before.

I think that the upsetting dreams are your brain's way of waking you up so that you'll head to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
posted by jason's_planet at 4:00 PM on August 6, 2006

Sometimes I find one and it's too disgusting to use, or there's something blocking me from reaching it.

WOW -- I am so glad to hear that other people have the same have-to-pee-but-toilets-are-gross-or-unavailable dream. Thank you for mentioning this. Our brains are so weird and cool.
posted by theredpen at 5:35 PM on August 6, 2006

I'm sure I've heard the following explanation from someone credible, but I don't remember who it was: the body reacts to a full bladder by heating itself, because when the core temperature of the body increases you tend to wake up. But an increased core temperature also makes you experience strange and vivid dreams (similar to delirium from a high fever). If you stay in bed with a full bladder your body won't have a chance to cool down again, so the dreams continue.

A search on google for some actual evidence to support this hypothesis failed. Maybe someone else will have better luck.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:50 AM on August 7, 2006

See also.
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:47 AM on August 7, 2006

« Older Good tie storage, or good paperboard stock?   |   Clueless-what to do about my crush? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.