Tinkle, Tinkle…. Too Much?

Is your sleep interrupted by frequent trips to the loo? Nocturia, urinating more than twice during the night, bothers approximately 20% of people over 20, with the rate increasing as we age.

Nocturia may be due to several reasons, including; caffeine or alcohol, too much fluid close to bedtime, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, pregnancy for women or an enlarged prostate for men, or it could be due to sleep apnoea.

Take my breath away

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is when breathing is reduced or stops for a period of time during your sleep. An apnoea is the cessation of breath and can last from seconds to alarmingly, over a minute at a time. OSA is often undiagnosed, with symptoms and side effects including morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and an increased risk of overweight, heart disease and diabetes.

One theory linking sleep apnoea with nocturia, is that when the sleeper gasps for air at the end of an apnoea, the natural chemical, Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP) is released from the heart. ANP causes the kidneys to filter more urine into the bladder, thus triggering those unwanted trips to the loo.

Surprisingly, some children also suffer from OSA, and this theory may explain bedwetting in previously toilet trained youngsters.

Breath retraining

In my experience, Buteyko breathing retraining is extremely helpful in reducing OSA, and the unwanted side-effects of nocturia and bedwetting. The gold standard for diagnosing OSA is a sleep study which nowadays can be conducted at home. Ask your doctor if you think you may be at risk. The usual remedies for OSA are rather drastic – a cPAP machine and mask, a dental splint or surgery.

If you are diagnosed, before you sign up for one of these, why not try a course of Buteyko as this could be an easy and cost effective solution?