Lack of sleepSleep experts are encouraging people to understand the value of healthy and solid sleep as part of the key message for World Sleep Day. Interrupted sleep is associated with significant health problems, both physical and psychological, including obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression and anxiety.

The most common cause of sleep disturbance is nocturia – the need to go to the toilet more than once in the night. It is a condition that affects 8.63 million people in the UK and isn’t isolated to a particular demographic.viii One in three adults over the age of 30, and two thirds of adults over the age of 65 experience nocturia. 

Dr Neil Stanley, a UK based independent Sleep Expert says: "Good, undisturbed, sleep is vital for good physical, mental and emotional health and so conditions disturbing sleep, such as nocturia, need to be managed pro-actively."

The broken night’s sleep caused by trips to the bathroom can have huge consequences for sufferers. Productivity, relationships and career success can be impacted.i Lack of sleep can also affect mental functioning, making it much harder to concentrate, remember things and pick up new skills or facts.i Nocturia has also been shown to result in an increase in morbidity and mortality, with studies showing that waking up two or more times a night to urinate increases a person’s risk of mortality by up to 22%.

The chronic loss of sleep due to nocturia places a significant burden on the UK economy – the estimated annual societal cost due to loss of productivity is £4.32 billion. Nocturia also has a major impact on the UK healthcare system, with approximately 10 million patient visits, 63,000 hospital admissions and 130,000 fractures happening yearly due to the condition.xi The annual healthcare cost of managing nocturia and its consequences is £1.35 billion.

There are several reasons why people are affected by nocturia, with a major cause being nocturnal polyuria – an overproduction of urine at night – contributing in up to 76–88% of cases. It can also be caused by external factors such as excess fluids before bedtime, medications, alcohol, caffeine, or diuretic medications; in rare cases it could also be a symptom of something more serious such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. 

Mr Dudley Robinson, Consultant Urogynaecologist, Kings College Hospital agrees. “Nocturia, waking one or more times at night, is a common symptom which is often under recognised, poorly diagnosed and inappropriately managed. As well as having an important impact on Quality of Life it leads to daytime sleepiness and reduced productivity. Whilst the causes of nocturia may be multifactorial we know have an efficacious and safe therapy for those patients with nocturnal polyuria which is the cause of nocturia in over 75% of cases.”