Getting Quality Sleep With OAB
If you have overactive bladder (OAB), you may feel tired frequently because you do not get a good night’s sleep. There are several actions you can take that will relieve symptoms, help you to get a better night’s sleep and wake up refreshed. Many are simple strategies you can implement at home, but others require consultation with qualified health experts.
1. Identify the Problem
Think about possible reasons you might be in the bathroom all night or staying awake — it may or may not be related to OAB. For example, if you overextend yourself and are stressed, you may have to urinate frequently due to anxiety coupled with OAB. In order to get a good night’s sleep, you must address the stress and the OAB. The clearer you can be about what is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, the better outcomes you will have when you implement a treatment plan.
2. Plan Ahead
Think about how many hours of sleep you need every night to function optimally. Compare that amount with the current amount of sleep you get. For example, if you like to get eight hours of sleep per night and only get six, plan to compensate for the lack of sleep by allowing yourself extra time to rest. Go to bed two hours earlier than you normally do. You may benefit from taking a nap, however, that may not be an option and it may interfere with your sleep at night. Experiment. Do you sleep better if you go to bed earlier? Is rising later an option? Be creative.
3. Pay Attention to Your Body
When 8:00 p.m. rolls around you may feel like you can fall asleep, but you put it off to watch TV, read, or catch up on chores. Pay attention to your body’s signals — the human body has a natural rhythm.
Most people sleep better when they go to bed by 10:00 p.m. If you ignore your body’s internal clock, you may have increased difficulty falling and staying asleep. Avoid getting overtired, as that can make establishing a healthy sleep pattern even harder.
It takes time to establish a normal sleep pattern. You may need to go to bed earlier than you are used to for a couple of weeks before you can fall asleep at the new time. Be patient.
4. Make Your Bedroom Conducive to Sleep
Treat yourself to the finest sheets and blankets you can afford. Maintain your bedroom as a private retreat that promotes relaxation. Avoid using electronic devices right before bed. Your bedroom is a place for relaxation and sleep — don’t use it for other purposes. Keep your environment serene and quiet; it is not the place to work out budgets, child care issues or relationship challenges.
5. Establish a Nightly Routine
While it is necessary that your mind associates your bedroom with sleep, it is even more important you establish a nightly routine that makes sleep possible. Avoid drinking fluids for at least two hours before bedtime. Wear loose-fitting night clothes that do not restrict movement or put pressure on your waist. Plan and stick with a soothing routine. Do you like to read or listen to soothing music? Do hot baths relax you? Learn how to pray or meditate. Does keeping a nightly journal help relieve stress?
Mentally teach yourself to let go of all of the day’s concerns the moment you get into bed. You can do this by reviewing the entire day in your mind for five minutes — do not use the time to judge or plan for the next day. Simply review the day in your mind as if you were watching a movie. This simple technique can help you to let go of the day’s cares as it prepares your body and mind for rest.
6. Use Your Senses
If you have a partner, share relaxing massages before bed. If you do not have a partner, gently massage your neck and any tender areas. Consider purchasing a heating pad to place against your lower back or abdomen to relieve muscle tension. This can help relieve the urge to urinate.
If you use a night light, make sure it is not too bright. Purchase room-darkening shades if necessary. Keep your bedroom door closed in order to keep out noise and as a means to remind yourself to turn off the concerns of the day. A white noise machine, quiet non-rhythmic music or recordings of nature sounds may soothe you to sleep.
Don’t overeat before bedtime. If you have an evening snack, enjoy a whole grain food with a small amount of protein. Avoid caffeine and alcohol on the evening.
7. Use Herbal Remedies to Relieve Symptoms and Promote Sleep
Herbs offer many benefits for sufferers of OAB. Marshmallow root and corn silk soothe the urinary system, and while they may be consumed in many forms, I suggest drinking one quart of herbal tea daily, during the daytime.
If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, cranberry, blueberry, pipsissewa, buchu and uva ursi are excellent choices for relieving and preventing them. Consult with a qualified practitioner who is skilled about herbal therapies if you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection.
Valerian, hops, linden and passionflower are just a few of the many herbs that promote relaxation and sleep. Herbal remedies are generally safe and well-tolerated. See which ones work best for you.
8. See Your Doctor
If you are not currently receiving care from a bladder specialist, ask for a referral. Many medications, exercises, therapies and medical procedures are available to reduce OAB symptoms and aid sleep.
If your OAB symptoms are well-controlled and you still cannot sleep, ask your doctor to perform a comprehensive physical examination. You may benefit from consulting with a sleep specialist or having a sleep study done.
If you have OAB and you are not sleeping well at night, it is important that you not give up hope. There is a wide array of interventions that can relieve your bladder symptoms and promote healthy sleep. In addition to the suggestions provided above, be sure to live a healthy lifestyle. Engage in a regular exercise program and participate in hobbies and activities you enjoy.