The first question a doctor will ask you if you complain about having to pee in the middle of the night is, “Did the need to urinate wake you up, or did you wake up and notice you had to urinate?”
“How you answer makes a difference,” says Randy Wexler, MD, an associate professor of family medicine and vice chair of clinical affairs at the Ohio State University Medical Center.
Wexler explains that, when you sleep, increased blood flow to your kidneys can accelerate urine production. So if you wake up because of a snoring bedmate or insomnia or some other reason that has nothing to do with your bladder, you’ll still have no problem producing urine if you decide to head to the bathroom.
But if having to pee is the reason you’re waking up, that’s not something to ignore, he says.
Here, he and other experts explain some of the most common causes of having to pee at night—and what to do about them.