The People's Perspective on Medicine

How Often Do You Get Up to Pee at Night?

Some readers find that eating raisins before bedtime means they don't have to get up to pee as often, or possibly not at all.

Do you have to get up to pee several times a night? Many people report that this is a problem, especially as they grow older. Having to urinate several times during the night is a major factor interfering with sleep in older adults (Desjadins et al, Sleep, Feb. 15, 2019). Doctors call it nocturia (“peeing at night”), but they don’t have magical solutions for it. They do recommend drinking less liquid toward the end of the day (Oelke et al, International Journal of Clinical Practice, Nov. 2017). They may also prescribe desmopressin nasal spray, sometimes used to prevent bed-wetting as well.  Several readers have found, however, that eating a small handful of raisins before bedtime can help.

Will Raisins Reduce the Number of Times You Get Up to Pee?

Q. I have had nocturia for many years. I tried numerous treatments, including two surgeries. My sleep was frequently interrupted, sometimes five or six times a night. I didn’t know what it would be like to get a good night’s rest.

Nothing helped until I tried eating a handful of raisins before bed.

The first night, I only had to get up to pee one time. The second night I got up one time and last night I didn’t have to get up a single time. I only hope that this continues. Thank you for sharing this inexpensive and safe remedy.

A. We are glad this worked to help you sleep better. We don’t know if the benefit will persist, but you are not the only one to have noticed a difference. One person has compared nights on which he consumes some raisins in the evening and doesn’t need to get out of bed at all to other nights when he skips the raisins and has to trek to the bathroom at least once and usually twice during the night. Here is another visitor’s story:

Making Fewer Bathroom Visits Overnight:

Q. I am going in for simultaneous knee replacements soon. I had to find something to stop the nighttime trips to the bathroom so I don’t fall.

Your idea of eating raisins seems to be working. I eat 10 in the morning and 10 at night and I’ve slept better than I have in years.

Raisins Reduce the Number of Bathroom Visits Needed:

A. We have heard from a surprising number of readers that eating raisins in the evening can reduce bathroom trips at night. We have no idea why this might work.

However, you can read more about this and other remedies for nocturia (excessive nighttime urination) in our Guide to Favorite Home Remedies. Access to this online resource can be purchased at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Beets May Also Help You Not Get Up to Pee:

Some people report that beets are also helpful for reducing urination at night. That might be because compounds in beets help relax smooth muscle, but we really do not have a scientifically proven explanation. On the other hand, doctors don’t have many effective treatments for nocturia (Dani, Esdaille & Weiss, Nature Reviews. Urology, Oct. 2016). If munching a few raisins or sipping beet soup before bedtime can help, why not try it?

You will also find other ideas on improving sleep in our online Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I was getting up every 90 minutes for 8 years. I started taking the raisins, and the first night went 2 hours; the second night 3 hours but after that it was back to every 90 minutes, and then stopped working. I was so excited at first. The same thing happened with pumpkin seed oil pills: they worked great for a few days then stopped working completely.

I’ve been on flomax for years and it is not working as well as I age. I sometimes had to get up 3-4 times a night to pee. I wasn’t getting proper sleep and as a result I was tired during the day. Recently I had to get up 6 times, and before I went to the doctor to increase my flomax dosage I decided to try the raisin solution. To my surprise and amazement it worked incredibly well. I ate about a dozen raisins before bed, and only had to get up once in the night, after sleeping soundly for 5 hours!!! This continues to work, but it’s necessary to brush your teeth after eating the raisins as they are high in sugar content and small pieces stick to your teeth. I have read about the raisin solution for years but was very skeptical, but now I’m a believer. Thanks to peoples pharmacy!!!

To keep from being dehydrated in the winter due to electric heat, I have to drink water before going to bed. I also sometimes need to take an Advil Allergy & Congestion Relief, which is both a nasal decongestant and an antihistamine. On the nights I take that, I never have to get up. I wonder if it doesn’t dry you up or something! :)

Pumpkin seed oil capsules have worked like a charm for me. I take two capsules a day. It adds 40 calories to my daily diet, but no sugar like raisins will!

Drinking water before bedtime is said to help prevent heart attacks; so you do NOT want to be dehydrated going to bed. If you have kidney problems you may NOT want to prevent bathroom trips at night (per my kidney DR.) when I asked. You may want to add this to your review. Thanks

I just bought an Apex M appliance. It exercises the muscle responsible for the incontinence. I have just gotten it so don’t have results yet. Just hope it works as there are times when I get up 8 times a night.

You have no idea how offensive it is to see “Pee” in your headline. This is an interesting article, with good solutions to try. But PLEASE don’t say “pee.” Urinate works just fine and doesn’t sound so common.

Really? offensive? I don’t think most people think that.

Raisins are full of sugar and can cause cavities in your teeth. If you eat them before bed, please brush/floss, too.

First, drink less water or watery foods (beer, watermelon, etc.) two hours before bed. Take a palm full of raisins, not a handful. Urinate before getting in bed, and of course avoid the news at night (you might get even more P@@@ed Off!). What type of raisins: Doubt that this will work, no problem just get up 4x a night. What about pumpkin seeds or oil? Try it. Scared nocturia can be a symptom of severe sleep apnea? Lose weight, get in shape, drink less booze, and get it checked out. Being scared w/o action serves no purpose.

I can’t eat raisins or beets because I am fructose intolerant, but I have found that a pumpkin seed oil capsule at bedtime (recommended in your column) helps somewhat. I also started taking one .5 tablet of clonazepam for the first time last night, and slept like a babyl

Would any kind of dried fruit work? I will eat raisins in other foods like granola but the idea of eating a handful of raisins is less than appealing.

I believe that raisins likely act to reduce nocturia by adding a slow dose of sucrose or fructose into our blood causing the body to hold fluid in the blood and not directing it to the kidneys and bladder. People need to weigh the disadvantages of increased sugar circulating in their blood with the harmful effects that accompanies it.

I seem to get relief at night by taking one Advil liquigel at bedtime. I recall another person also getting relief.

Well I get up at least 3 times I might try the raisins but I am doubtful

Works for me. If you get up only one time to pee you need to take an extra raisin. I take 8-9 sometimes once or twice a day and the every-2-hour-waking-up-to-pee cycle is gone. I use dark raisins so not sure about the golden ones.

Interesting. Raisins contain a lot of sugar which may cause insulin spikes? Would this affect anything?

I guess my question would be what is normal? For those getting up a single time during the night that would suggest about 4 hours between bathroom trips. To me that’s normal during the day so why the concern? I always drink a sip of water just before going to bed so I expect a bathroom visit during the night. However, if I exercise in the evening time I usually can go through the night with no bathroom breaks which is due to less hydration of the body.

I had to laugh as I read this article. My husband has to get up at least once (usually twice) every night to pee. Unfortunately, the home remedies listed above could not work for him either as he hates both raisins and beets! I would be a happy camper IF I needed them (which, thankfully, I don’t) as I love both. Oh well.

Unfortunately, this is not a good suggestion for diabetics. Too much sugar, even in small amounts.

Does the type or raisin matter in helping with nocturia?

My Internist recommended eating a banana just before going to bed to help slow the number of trips to the bathroom – he said it helps maintain blood-sugar levels, and it definitely helps.

Sleep apnea can increase nighttime urinary urgency. Correcting it with a special oral appliance or CPAP can help control it. I am wondering if eating raisins regularly will raise blood sugar levels.

Re: the Pumpkin seed oil capsules I got them on Amazon and the reviews are there too. OOPS

Look up Pumpkin seed oil, and read the reviews. I get mine by NOW. Works for overactive bladder etc. I take 2 in the AM w/food.

A capsule of pumpkin seed oil works wonders for me!

I think you need to warn your subscribers that nocturia can be a symptom of severe sleep apnea. At least it was with me. After years of snorting and some new heart arrhythmias, I started using a CPAP machine, and my nightime wakeups dropped from 2 or 3 a night to one or even none! It seems that, somehow, low oxygen in the blood affects the bladder. I firmly believe that this goes beyond the obvious effects of sleeping lightly causing heightened sensitivity to urges. I found some reports in the medical literature that supports this effect.

The talk on raisins decreasing nocturnal urination was interesting, especially following on the reminder that raisins in gin can decrease arthritis pain. Some years ago, I had the series of 3 synvisc-type of shots in my knee. After the 2nd one, I could report that one change I noted was that my waking in the night to urinate had decidedly decreased to only once or even less. I guess the pain was waking me up, rather than a full bladder. Is this the same thing happening with raisins?

I would welcome any idea to prevent bathroom usage. I’ve tried pumpkin seed oil 1000mg at night but no luck with it. I’ll give try to raisins as well but require some advice as to quantity.

Thank you

Your photo shows golden raisins. Does it matter if they are dark or golden raisins?

Would using grapes instead of raisins work as well ?

I tried the golden raisins and brown/black raisins w/o luck. Unfortunately, they caused a negative intestinal side effect in me, so had to give up.

I am currently trying pumpkin seed oil. While the results are not in yet, they have been positive enough that I’ve recently started my 2nd 90-day supply of capsules. I’m still hoping.

A lack of electrolytes can cause nocturia. Perhaps raisins supply the necessary minerals.

Perhaps the sugar-raising properties of raisins cause a similar insulin rise.
One cup of raisins has 131 g of total carbohydrate and only 6 g of fiber
That’s the equivalent of 31 teaspoons of sugar

One of the properties of insulin is to hold onto water. That’s why you pee out a bunch of water when you drastically cut your carbs as your insulin drops.

This would suggest that eating raisins in order to raise your insulin to hold onto water is not a good thing.

“Blood sugar down is good as long as insulin is not up“
Dr. Ron Rosedale

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