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Always Need To Wee At Night? Cutting Salt Could Help

Because the wee hours of the morning are made for sleeping.

It's always fun when you're woken up from your perfect slumber because your bladder demands the toilet for a wee (or three).

You have to rip yourself from your extra soft and pillowy doona, and face the cold bathroom tiles and fluoro nights. Not to be overly dramatic, but it really is the worst.

Good news -- new research shows there could be an easy fix to night-time weeing, which isn't 'don't drink water before bed'.

It's salt, or lack thereof.

Yes, the need to wee at night (called nocturia, which affects most people over the age of 60) is related to the amount of salt in your diet, according to new research out of Japan, presented at the European Society of Urology congress in London.


Although night-time weeing may seem like a trivial issue, nocturia can lead to stress, irritability or tiredness. After all, it's time away from all-important deep sleep.

But the Japanese researchers found that reducing the amount of salt in your diet can significantly reduce excessive bathroom trips -- both during the day and when asleep.

"Night-time urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simply dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people," Matsuo Tomohiro, who led the group of researchers from Nagasaki University, said.

The researchers studied over 321 Japanese people who had a high salt intake and experienced problems sleeping, helping them to reduce their salt intake over the course of 12 weeks.

Of the 223 people who were able to lower their intake from an average of 10.7 grams per day to 8.0 grams per day, trips to the loo dropped from 2.3 times a night to 1.4 times.

As a result, the participants who had to get up less often during the night say they had a better quality of life. Daytime urination also dropped when salt in the diet was reduced.

Decrease salt or urine trouble.
laflor via Getty Images
Decrease salt or urine trouble.

On the other hand, 98 people actually increased their average salt intake from 9.6 grams per night to 11 grams, and reported an increase in toilet trips from 2.3 to 2.7 times per night.

"This is an important aspect of how patients potentially can help themselves to reduce the impact of frequent urination," Marcus Drake, working group lead for the European Association of Urology Guidelines Office Initiative on Nocturia, said.

"Research generally focuses on reducing the amount of water a patient drinks, and the salt intake is generally not considered. Here we have a useful study showing how we need to consider all influences to get the best chance of improving the symptom."

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommend 1.15–2.3 grams of salt per day, but most Australian adults have a daily salt intake of about 10 grams.

"This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects the frequency of going to the bathroom, so we need to confirm the work with larger studies," Tomohiro added.


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