Cutting your salt intake could help end midnight toilet trips

If you suffer from a weak bladder that keeps your awake half the night with constant trips to the toilet, you know the drain this has on your life… feeling groggy throughout the day, dreading going to bed knowing you’ll just be jumping out of it every two minutes, not managing to get a solid night of rejuvenating sleep.

There a number of different reasons why you might be suffering from night-time urination, or nocturia. These could be anything from drinking too closely to bedtime, a urinary-tract infection (UTI), your age or something more sinister like a prostate or bladder tumour.

But one way that may help to reduce those nightly trips, it seems, is to reduce your salt consumption.

Researchers from Nagasaki University in Japan examined 321 men and women with an average age of 64, who experience nocturia and have a high dietary salt intake (over 8g a day for men and over 7g for women).

These participants were given guidance and support to lower their salt intake and then followed up throughout the 12 week study period.

The findings, presented at the European Association of Urology congress in London, demonstrated that 223 of participants were able to reduce their salt consumption from a mean 10.7g to 8g a day. This resulted in the average nightly urination falling from 2.3 times to 1.4 times.

In contrast, the remaining 98 individuals actually increased their salt intake during the period from an average 9.6g a day to 11g, and subsequently, their average urination rose from 2.3 times to 2.7 times a night, showing a prominent link.

Lead researcher, Matsuo Tomohiro, commented: “This is the first study to measure how salt intake affects the frequency of going to the bathroom… Night time urination is a real problem for many people, especially as they get older. This work holds out the possibility that a simple dietary modification might significantly improve the quality of life for many people.”

Be sure to consult your doctor and make sure that there isn’t a more serious concern at the heart of your night-time urination.

But for a great way to kick-off your salt detox, use black pepper as a seasoning instead of salt and snack on fruit or vegetables instead of a packet of crisps.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dominic Rees
Editorial Health Researcher