Seniors who have difficulty sleeping may find that their problems worsen if they have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate, according to new research presented Sunday at the 28th annual European Association of Urology (EAU) congress.
The problem is known as nocturia, and according to the researchers, it has been linked not only to sleep disruptions but to “significant reductions” in both work productivity and leisure activity as well. They polled 261 women and 385 men who suffer from the condition over a 14-day period, asking them about the impact it has on their ability to perform their work-related and other daily tasks.
As it turns out, nocturia decreased on-the-job productivity by 24 percent and the ability to perform recreational activity by 34 percent, the UK newspaper The Independent reported on Sunday. A paper detailing the results of the research was also published online in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine on March 15.
The researchers also reported that more than half (54 percent) of all nighttime sleep disruptions were associated with the need to urinate, and that people who woke up remained awake an average of 11.5 percent longer on nights when they had to make a trip to the restroom, according to HealthDay News.
The study participants also reported that the number of trips they had to make caused their overall quality of sleep to decrease, though no link was discovered between nighttime bathroom trips and total sleep duration.
“Nocturia is a common problem affecting around a third of adults, but its burden is underestimated and it is often dismissed as being less serious than other chronic conditions in terms of impact on quality of life and societal costs,” Philip Van Kerrebroeck, professor of urology at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, told The Telegraph. “These data show that nocturia negatively affects both sleep and daytime performance and its impact on work productivity is in line with many other chronic conditions. Patients with nocturia should seek specific treatment for this debilitating condition.”
“The results raise the clinical question of treating nocturia to help individuals with insomnia,” Jamie Zeitzer, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, added in comments printed by HealthDay News. “That is, could much of the insomnia or poor sleep that occurs in older individuals be alleviated by treatment of nocturia? Of course, the opposite is quite possible – that proper treatment of insomnia might reduce the occurrence of nocturia.”