Sleep Disorders

Updated 08 September 2014

Toilet trips disturbing your sleep?

Physical activity might reduce one's chances of having to get up more than once a night to urinate, a new study suggests.

Researchers analysed data from thousands of men in order to determine rates of nocturia (getting up two or more times a night to urinate) or severe nocturia (getting up three or more times a night).

Reducing nocturia risk

Compared to inactive men, those who were physically active – one or more hours per week – were 13 percent less likely to have nocturia and 34 percent less likely to have severe nocturia, the investigators found.

While the study found an association between exercise and reduced urinary activity at night, it doesn't establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

Still, physical activity may help reduce the risk of nocturia in a number of ways, perhaps by reducing body size, improving sleep, lowering inflammation and decreasing nervous system activity, according to the authors.

Read: Nocturia keeping you awake?

The study was released online recently ahead of print publication in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Further research is needed to examine physical activity as a way to manage nocturia, "with particular attention to the dose of physical activity necessary and the mechanisms that might underlie the association," Kate Wolin, an associate professor in the departments of surgery and public health sciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a news release.

Nocturia is the most common lower urinary tract symptom in men.

Read: Insomnia: 10 medical causes

It can be caused by an enlarged prostate, overproduction of urine, low bladder capacity and sleep problems.

The condition becomes more common with age and is believed to occur in more than 50 percent of men 45 and older.

Read More:

Diagnoses and treatment of insomnia
Eat better, sleep better
6 ways to prevent insomnia

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Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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