The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will Raisins in the Evening Help You Stay in Bed?

Snacking on a handful or so of raisins in the evening before bedtime may cut down the number of bathroom visits overnight.

Have you ever had to get up at night to urinate? Most of us have. Going once or even twice in the course of the night may not be much of a problem, but having to trek to the bathroom multiple times can be disruptive. Getting back to sleep is often a problem. Could munching a handful of raisins in the evening help you sleep soundly all night long without bathroom trips?

Raisins in the Evening Are a Weird Home Remedy:

Q. I am a skeptic when it comes to home remedies, but I got tired of getting up three or four times a night to go to the bathroom. When I read in your column that a handful of raisins in the evening before bed might cut down the number of nighttime trips, I figured I had nothing to lose.

Over time I detected improvement. I was only getting up once or twice and sometimes not at all.

Then I went on vacation and did not pack any raisins. After a night or two, I was getting up three to four times to pee. When I got home I resumed the raisins and I haven’t had to get up at all for the last three nights. Now I am a believer. How does this work?

Should You Eat a Few Raisins in the Evening?

A. We first heard about using raisins to reduce nighttime urination over four years ago. Since then, over 200 people have shared their thoughts on this remedy. Many have offered possible explanations, but we have seen no scientific studies that would provide a plausible mechanism.

Be sure to brush your teeth after eating raisins. Otherwise, the sticky sugars could contribute to tooth decay. People with diabetes will need to consider that sugar content when they calculate whether they can safely eat raisins before bed.

Another reader accidentally discovered a different remedy to reduce nighttime urination:

“I recently started taking the amino acid L-arginine to help my heart. To my surprise, for the first time in decades I wake up only a couple times to use the bathroom. I have a small bladder. Neither my cardiologist nor my endocrinologist had any explanation. I am sure this is no placebo and might be useful to others.”

More Raisins in the Evening Stories:

As we mentioned, we have received an amazing number of anecdotal reports about raisins for n0cturia. We know that most health professionals find such stories unconvincing. Nevertheless, we think a handful of raisins is benign compared t0 the anticholinergic drugs that are frequently prescribed for overactive bladder.

Phil in Missouri reports surprising success:

“I tried taking ten raisins. It worked! I have never slept until 5:00 am. That’s been the case for decades. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at the clock this morning. I thought my clock was wrong. It wasn’t. I had slept soundly for nearly six hours without waking to go to the bathroom. I can’t believe it.”

Deb discovered the benefits of raisins by accident:

“Hmmm, this is interesting. I have, over the last three weeks or so, been eating more raisins in a healthy trail mix. Now that you mention it, I have not had to get up at my usual 4 am to use the bathroom.

“I’m not sure how many nights….maybe seven at this point? Buying more raisins today.”

Lisa in Brooklyn is delighted with the results of raisins in the evening.

“I have been exhausted during the day after getting up 5 to 6 times a night to urinate. I was in bed last night, dreading the long night ahead, when I ran across this discussion. I figured, why not?

I ate a handful of raisins and started reading a book in bed. Eight hours later, I woke up the best I have felt in months. It works, and that’s pretty amazing. Thank you!”

Share your own story in the comment section below. If the raisins in the evening did not work, we want to hear about that too. And if you have a plausible explanation, please let us know why you think this remedy might work.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I tried the raisins before bed, but I had a harder time going to sleep, and my heart was racing. Could it be from the sugar surge from about 20 raisins?

Last winter when the flu was especially bad we got the flu shot for good measure (but knew it’s really a waste because they never figure the right strain) and started taking Elderberry syrup and Olive Leaf Extract 250mg with 17% Oleuropein (important) Vegetarian capsules 2 caps 2x daily until flu season passes then 1 cap 2x daily. Where is this going you’re probably asking, well a side effect of the olive leaf extract is we didn’t get up in the middle of the night any more. When you do a search, OLE helps with respiratory function especially if you’ve ever had pneumonia. Solaray is the brand on Amzn. $22 for 120 caps. Make sure they are vegetarian caps. Better tasting.

I used to get up multiple times during the night to urinate. A CPAP machine, treatment for sleep apnea, changed everything. Now I normally sleep through the night or, if I have a lot to drink during the day, maybe once. If you have sleep apnea, your kidneys think it’s daytime. Bad for them, too.

This sounds great! But won’t my bladder want to explode when I finally DO wake up?

As a Chiropractor, my guess is that the raisins dissolve slowly releasing sugar gradually into our blood throughout the night and early morning hours. The sugar holds the fluid in our blood through osmotic pressure and prevents the kidneys from sending the fluid to our bladder.

I’m an 82 year old woman 5’1″, 127 lbs .. reasonably healthy…no prescriptions…just otc…supports like Glu/Chrod/Hyaluronic acid for joints 2 daily; brain health, Cera- (60% silk Protein Hydrolysate 2 daily; Aleve 1 daily; other numerous otc s; fish oil plus 300mg omega-3; Red Yeast Rice instead of a statin 3 x a week; magnesium…bones & muscle health 500 mg 1 daily; however, I wake up each morning 4:00 AM with lots of aching from lower back, thighs and legs.

Maybe arthritus ? or over meds?? or bad mattress?? I still leasurely ride bicycle or walk 25 minutes several days a week. I very much appreciate the Physicians Pharmacy on line and in the newspaper. Thank you. Any comments welcome.

After getting up three or four times per night to use the bathroom, I was desperately looking for something to help me stay asleep, without the use of sleeping aids (Benadryl, melatonin, etc.).

After reading about the raisins helping some people, I decided to give it a try. I thought for sure it was a ridiculous idea; but, lo and behold, I stayed asleep all night for four nights in a row. I forgot to take the raisins on night five, and guess what happened? Yep, back to getting up several times to use the bathroom.

I told my husband about this, and he decided to try it as well, having to use the bathroom a couple of times each night himself. He was as skeptical as I, but didn’t see the harm in trying. He’s had the same success. I have no earthly idea why it works, but we will not question success. Even if it is placebo effect, if it works, we’re in. I will update in the future if the raisin strategy begins failing to help us stay in bed all night.

Very good, but those of us on prescription diurectics should stay away from the nocturnal raisins

I think it’s generally accepted that it’s a decrease in the elasticity of the bladder that causes nocturia. The bladder can’t stretch as far as it once could so you get the urge quicker, and then when it starts to retract, you get the urge again and maybe again. So I’m guessing that there’s some combination of ingredients in raisins (and possibly cranberries) that increases bladder elasticity. How about some research?

Is there a gender bias in the results – does it, say, help men more than women?

Years ago I was working in a delivery room. Between having to work different shifts which interfered with getting adequate sleep and a questionable diet, I had a constant cold–not a pleasant thing when I had to wear a mask so often. A friend told me to start taking Vitamin C. I had served orange juice to my family daily and felt this was adequate but I finally took her suggestion and the colds (or whatever) stopped. To this day, I very rarely have even the sniffles and no flu. Since this worked so well, I started taking her advice on other vitamins and supplements and at 88 years my doctor recently told me my body was 10 years younger than my stated age. My daily vitamins are much cheaper that the medication bills of most of my friends my age. The only medication I take is for an overactive bladder.

I am a 70 year old man and I had been getting up 3-4x per night for as long as I can remember. I tried a few things, including raisins, with not much benefit. THEN I began using a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea and what a difference! I now get up once per night!
I’ve done a little research as to why and there are some explanations associated with apnea causing reduced oxygen in the blood which in turn causes the heart to give off something that affects the bladder. And of course just sleeping better means less sensitive to urges, probably. I have had several family doctors over the years and none of them shave mentioned this side benefit of CPAP!

I suffer from nocturia because I have Hunner’s lesions on the lining of my bladder and the irritation to them as my bladder fills with urine causes me to have to pee to relieve the discomfort. Since this can happen 8-10 times per night I have been wearing overnight diapers so that I can simply relieve myself in bed. This has saved me from being sleep deprived which led to many more problems. So, I am very interested in this raisin consumption to eliminate the urge to pee at night. I will begin using them today and for the next 10 days, after which I report the results. Thank you for this suggestion. Sure hope it works.

As one who cannot get to sleep, even when exhausted, and takes Vitamin A(mbien), unfortunately. Getting up multiple times for bathroom trips added to my sleep deficit. I’ve been taking raisins before bed & no longer needing Vesicare. To me, this is a Blessing!

Raisins just before bed works for me – a small handful and I sleep until 5 or 6 am after falling asleep at 11:00 pm. If you soak them in gin you get the added benefit of no hip joint pain.

I don’t really like raisins though I eat them in things. Would other dried fruit work instead?

I have suffered from bladder infections all of my life dating back to childhood. I became resistant to most antibiotics. A woman wrote to People’s Pharmacy and said they she took two garlic pills at night to help her with the same problem that I suffered. So I figured I’d try it.

Since I started taking two garlic pills every night I have not suffered from a bladder infection in over 4 years. I used to have as many as 2 a month. Could there be the same or similar chemicals in raisins and garlic? All I can tell you is that it works. Mybertriq, that prevents nightly awakening, costs $106/monthly and that is with an insurance co-pay. Garlic pills cost $10.99 for a huge bottle. So garlic seems to work on several fronts – efficacy with bladder infections, night awakening and cost.

I’d love to know why but it doesn’t matter. I simply have no more bladder infections and I sleep through the night perhaps wakening once only.

Because raisins are a dehydrated fruit, could it be they pull moisture from your body to reinflate that might normally be directed to the bladder?

I take 300 mg of Shilajit plus Ashwaganda, which work well. Raisins are not bad choice but too much of sweet at bed time, not for me.

Could it be the high level of potassium in grapes, possibly magnified when they’re dehydrated to form raisins, that helps the kidneys to process liquids more efficiently?


Cranberry gel caps do it better and eliminate the sugar that is bad for us diabetics. My daughter also uses them and calls them “anti-pee pills”. Even my husband finds they work to minimize getting up at night.

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