Cut This One Thing Out Your Diet And You Won’t Wake Up To Pee In The Night

Is your diet causing your midnight bathroom runs?


Kirsten Macnab |

If waking up to pee is killing your sleep each night, the answer might be changing what you put on your plate earlier in the day, new research presented at the European Association of Urology conference suggests.

In the study, researchers from Japan studied 321 men and women who suffered from nocturia—waking up at least once each night to pee—and ate lots of salt each day.

Related: These 5 Foods Are Hiding Dangerous Levels Of Salt – And No, Chips Aren’t The Culprits Here

The researchers asked the participants to reduce their salt intake over the course of the 12-week study. About 70 percent of the sample were able to cut their salt, which dropped from an average of 10.7 grams (g) and day to 8 g.

And when they slashed their salt, their night-time bathroom trips diminished, too—they woke up, on average, about one fewer time each night to pee. What’s more, they reported improvements in urinary urgency, and in quality of life measures overall. Not exactly surprising, since waking up to pee can disrupt your sleep, leaving you irritable and tired the next day.

Now, the study only looked at people who were already eating high amounts of sodium—well above the daily recommended guidelines of 2.3 grams a day. So it’s unclear from the current study whether cutting your salt intake if you’re already in the normal range would help.

Related: FYI: This Study Suggests That Salt Makes You Crave More Food

Still, it does appear that the more sodium you take in, the more you pee during the night: Some participants in the study actually increased their sodium intake over the 12-week period, from 9.6 grams a day to 11 grams a day. As their sodium levels increased, so did the number of times they awoke to pee.

So while more research needs to be done before any firm conclusions could be reached, it doesn’t hurt to try reducing your sodium if you’re already eating a lot of it—and are annoyed with waking up at night to pee. For instance, rinse canned beans and vegetables before cooking, use spices instead of salt for flavouring, and choose reduced or lower sodium options of salt-heavy condiments like salad dressings, soy sauce, and dips, the American Heart Association suggests.

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