Nocturia: Considerable time watching TV and videos linked to peeing multiple times in the night - study

Man sitting on the toilet while on his phone
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Hands up: who experiences an overwhelming urge to pee each night after a big ol' Netflix binge?

If you tentatively raised your hand, the good news is, you're not alone. New research has suggested those of us who spend more time watching the telly are also more likely to wee multiple times a night.  

However, it's not entirely clear as to why television is linked to nighttime tinkling.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics, found that adults who spent five or more hours a day watching TV and/or videos were more likely to develop nocturia, or the need to urinate two or more times during the night.

The research was based on existing data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, recorded from 2011 to 2016. Among 13,294 US individuals aged 20 and older, 4236 (31.86 percent) reported experiencing nocturia, while 9058 (68.14 percent) did not.

Participants who watched TV or videos for five or more hours per day, however, had a 48 percent higher risk of experiencing nocturia compared to those who spent an hour maximum in front of the TV each day.

"Our research showed that individuals who spent five or more hours a day watching TV and/or videos were significantly more likely to develop nocturia," the authors wrote.

"As individuals increasingly engage in screen‐based activities, a comprehensive understanding of the impact of extended TV and/or video time on patterns of nocturia is crucial for both healthcare professionals and public health practitioners.

"For individuals who engage in prolonged TV and/or video time, healthcare professionals can offer behavioural intervention recommendations, encouraging appropriate screen time management." 

The researchers noted that the study cannot prove that considerable TV time is directly the cause of multiple nightly piddles, instead calling it an "association" or "correlation". However, they suggested those of us likely to engage in this level of screentime might require "better behavioural interventions" from healthcare professionals, to help reduce the hours spent in front of a screen.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, nocturia is defined as waking up more than once during the night due to needing to pee. The condition - causes of which can include drinking too much fluid, sleep disorders and bladder obstruction - becomes more common as people age, particularly in those older than 50.  

Certain health conditions can cause people to wake up and wee, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or congestive heart failure, obstructive sleep apnoea or other sleep disorders, and edema.