Causes of Frequent Urination at Night

Frequent urination at night (nocturia) can be a normal part of aging, but it can also be a sign of a medical concern like diabetes, heart disease, or bladder problems. Some health conditions that cause nerve damage, like Parkinson’s and MS, can also lead to bladder problems. You might also wake up to pee because of lifestyle factors (like your diet) or medications you take.

Nocturia can lead to sleep deprivation, daytime fatigue, impaired concentration, depression, and a loss of productivity, so it’s important to bring it to your healthcare provider’s attention.1

This article discusses common causes of frequent urination at night. It’s possible for one or more to be at play.

Common Risk Factors for Frequent Nighttime Urination
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin



Age is one of the main factors associated with nocturia. Most people with the condition are over the age of 60, though younger age can be a factor in nighttime urination, too.

One well-known aging-related cause is a condition called nocturnal polyuria (NP). With this, the body makes high volumes of urine during sleep.2

The prevalence of nocturnal polyuria increases with age. Around 77% of older women and 93% of older men have the condition.2

Younger people (especially kids) get nocturia simply because their bladders have not reached their full size yet. The amount of urine that’s made at night can be more than the organ can hold.1

Can Someone Really Have a Small Bladder?

There is negligible, if any, variation in adult bladder sizes. However, it is possible to have a normal size bladder and be unable to hold as much urine as expected. This is typically due to a medical condition.

Lifestyle and Diet

The need to urinate at night can also be diet-related. These factors can trigger nocturia either directly (by causing the body to make your urine) or indirectly (by compressing the bladder).

Some of the most common dietary factors that contribute to urinating more at night are:1

  • Alcohol and caffeine: Coffee, soda, and other beverages with caffeine, as well as alcoholic drinks, have diuretic properties that stimulate urine production.

  • Dietary salt: Excessive salt (sodium) can trigger nocturia in people with obesity or poor cardiac output. Sodium increases fluid retention. The fluid might be released at night when the bladder is full.

  • Hyperhydration: Drinking too much water before bedtime can easily trigger a middle-of-the-night bathroom visit.

  • Low-fiber diet: Chronic constipation can happen if your diet lacks dietary fiber. At night, the buildup of stool can cause the bowel to stretch and put pressure on the bladder, giving you the urge to pee.

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Article Submitted to MSRN by Pat France, MSRN Member