Incontinence and Sleep:
Tips to Have A More Restful Night

If you experience incontinence, you may have experienced how it can affect your sleep quality. Here are some ways to encourage a better night’s rest.

Incontinence and Sleep:
Tips to Have A More Restful Night

If you experience incontinence, you may have experienced how it can affect your sleep quality. Here are some ways to encourage a better night’s rest.

If you have incontinence, you may likely have experienced disruptive sleep at one stage or another.

One study found that patients with overactive bladder (OAB) - a condition that can cause urge incontinence - had significantly greater sleep disturbance compared to those without OAB [1].

Another analysis found that people with urinary incontinence were four times more likely to suffer from sleep issues than those without urinary incontinence [2].

Whether you struggle to fall asleep as it is or are woken up during the night to use the bathroom or change your incontinence aid, your sleep quality and overall well being could suffer.

So we wanted to share some tips around incontinence and sleep to help you have a better night’s rest more often.

How Incontinence Affects Sleep

As mentioned, those with incontinence may experience restless sleep due to being woken up during the night to void their bladder.

This could be due to:

  • Overactive Bladder/Urge Incontinence

An overactive bladder (OAB) occurs when the bladder contracts before it’s full. This means the person may need to go to the toilet often or find it hard to hold on until they reach it and may experience urine leaks.

This increased urgency and frequency of urination is known as urge incontinence.

  • Nocturnal Enuresis (Bedwetting)

Nocturnal enuresis is the medical term for bedwetting. While it is common for young children to experience bedwetting while toilet training, this form of bedwetting refers to children aged 5 or older who continue to wet the bed.

According to the Continence Foundation of Australia, nocturnal enuresis affects 1 in 5 children. Another body of research states bedwetting also occurs in up to 20% of 5-year-olds [4].

Bedwetting in children may be caused by:

    • Constipation

    • A urinary tract infection (UTI)

    • Stress and anxiety

    • Family history

    • Neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, Autism, Cerebral Palsy)

    • Sleep apnea

    • Bedwetting in a child that’s usually dry at night may indicate Diabetes

    • Delay in the development of nerves that control the bladder

While it may not seem overly common at first thought, it’s estimated that between 1-3% of adults (over the age of 18) do experience bedwetting.

So why might that be?

Well, there are several factors that can contribute to bedwetting:

    • Having a small bladder
    • Having an overactive bladder
    • A urinary tract infection (UTI)
    • An imbalance in the antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which signals your kidneys to slow the product of urine
    • Sleep apnea - one study found 7% of people with this disruptive sleep condition experience bedwetting [3]
    • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS)
    • Some prescription medications can increase bladder contractions (check with your doctor)
    • Diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugars, which can lead to excessive urination

How to Manage Incontinence for a Better Night's Sleep

Learning how to manage your incontinence before bedtime can help reduce the risk of regular late-night accidents and wake-ups.

Here are some tips you can try to see if your quality of sleep improves:

  • Limit your fluid intake leading up to your bedtime. It’s suggested to stop drinking water for around two hours before you jump into bed!

  • Avoid food and drinks that irritate the bladder at all times, but especially before bedtime.

  • People with OAB may benefit from double voiding - emptying the bladder twice. Empty your bladder once, wait several minutes and then try and void again to be sure the bladder is empty.

Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles help better hold in urine and suppress urgency. Speak to a pelvic physiotherapist for a tailored routine!

Incontinence Product Recommendations

Using effective, and comfortable, incontinence products for your nighttime routine can make a difference in your quality of sleep.

Depending on your level of need, we have products like our Dailee pull-up pants and all-in-one slips that feature our magical tube technology which rapidly absorbs liquid and can keep you dry for up to 12 hours! This can prevent having to get up during the night for changes, especially convenient if you have challenges with mobility.

Our waterproof bedding protectors are also a great addition to your sleep routine. They’ll protect your mattress and bedding from leaks so you can rest easy.

Having some wet wipes on your bedside could also be a quick and convenient way to manage any late-night clean-ups.

Whether you or the person you care for is experiencing bedwetting, it’s crucial to seek medical advice from your doctor. Many cases of incontinence can be treated or at least managed so you can live life comfortably and confidently.

The advice in this article is general in nature. Tailored advice must come directly from your health professional.

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