National Continence Helpline

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST Talk to a continence nurse

Waking up in the night to urinate

Get help from a health care professional, or talk to your supervisor or care coordinator if the person:

  • looks unwell or has a pain in their abdomen (stomach) or anus (bottom)
  • has signs of a urinary tract infection - temperature, shivering, pain in the lower back, blood in urine.

If the person you support gets up more than once in the night to go to the toilet, they have nocturia.


  • is a common problem, which becomes more common as people get older
  • can put a person at risk of falling when they need to get up in the dark to pass urine
  • may affect how a person manages during the day because they haven't had enough sleep.

What do you do if the person you support has nocturia?

  • Talk about the person's care with your supervisor, care coordinator or a health care professional.
  • Check that there is light so that the person can see the way when they are going to the toilet at night.
  • Put a commode or urinal next to the bed for the person to use instead.
  • Check that the person doesn't have constipation, as this can increase the need to pass urine.
  • Suggest that the person reduces the amount of caffeine and alcohol they drink, especially in the evening and before going to bed.
  • Suggest that the person rest with their legs up for a few hours in the afternoon or evening to reduce fluid building up.
  • Check if the person has started any new medicines. Don't stop the medicines, but tell the person's doctor if they develop problems sleeping and need to get up in the night to go to the toilet.
  • Check if the person has seen their general practitioner (GP) or other health care professional for their nocturia. If they have, make sure that they are following their recommended treatments.
  • If the person has not seen their GP or other health care professional for their nocturia, encourage them to do so.
  • Tell the person not to reduce their fluid intake, as this will make their urine more concentrated and they may then need to go to the toilet more often.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

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This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.