Up to 75 percent of women over 40 wake up at night to pee, a problem that becomes more frequent as cold temperatures squeeze bladder muscles. But scientists have pinpointed the reason behind an overactive bladder at night — plus the easy fixes for relief — so you can get more sleep and wake up ready for holiday fun!
If you startle awake with the urge to go but only pass a small amount of urine, your bladder is likely over-contracting due to overstimulated nerves. The fix: Place a cotton ball with two drops of pure vanilla extract in your pillowcase before bed. Inhaling the scent reduces bladder contractions by 38 percent, say Japanese scientists. Unique compounds vanillin and vanillyl alcohol lower stress hormones to calm bladder muscles so they don’t seize up overnight.
Try a Nutrient Duo
If you also experience leakage, blame weak bladder muscles. To curb nighttime bathroom treks by 30 percent, try 500 mg. of a pumpkin seed plus soy germ extract twice daily. Research in the Journal of Functional Foods shows the estrogen-like compounds tone the bladder so it holds fluid. Try: AZO Bladder Control with Go-Less (Buy at Walmart, $17.87)
Slip on Socks
How do swollen ankles trigger gotta-go? “When you lie flat, fluid that’s built up in your legs gets pulled out and fills your bladder,” says pelvic health physical therapist Sarah Trunk, at BalanceWithinPT.com. Her advice: “Wear compression stockings during the day to keep fluid moving, which means no full bladder waking you up.”
Head to the Mall
A 30-minute walk in the early evening as you holiday-shop reduces nighttime bathroom breaks by 42 percent in eight weeks, Japanese scientists say. Exercise tires you out, which makes your sleep deeper so you’re not roused by an overactive bladder.
The Music Fix
Research in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension found you can cut nine points off your blood pressure by listening to 30 minutes of slow tempo tunes daily. How that helps: Easing pressure on arteries allows you to empty your bladder fully before bed.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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