The strange nocturnal sign you have high blood pressure

I’d like to ask you a personal question…

How many times do you go to the bathroom at night?

I’ll admit, there are nights when I go to the bathroom a few times. And sure, it’s annoying. But I never thought it was anything to worry about. I figure I probably drank too much water before bed or had an ill-advised evening cup of tea.

Unfortunately, if you get up to go several times at night (like I do sometimes), your nightly bathroom habits could be a harbinger of bad news.

Now, I’m sure you know that frequent urination can be a symptom of diabetes, bladder disorders or prostate trouble. So, I’m not going to warn you about any of those. (If you suspect any of those health issues are contributing to your urge to go at night, talk to your doctor.)

Instead, I want to tell you about a lesser known health issue tied to nighttime urination — high blood pressure.

Because I hate to break it to my fellow nighttime urinators, but a new study shows those nighttime bathroom breaks could be a sign your BP is sky high.

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Peeing at night nearly doubles your high blood pressure risk

A recent study from researchers at Tohoku Rosai Hospital in Japan found a connection between urinating at night and high blood pressure.

The study included 3,749 people who had their blood pressure checked and answered questions about their nighttime urination habits on a questionnaire.

Once researchers crunched all the numbers, they discovered that getting up at night to go to the bathroom was associated with a 40 percent higher risk of high blood pressure. They also found that the more times an individual went to the bathroom at night, the higher their high BP risk became. So, people who went once per night were less likely to have high BP than people who went three times per night.

But why would nighttime urination have anything to do with your blood pressure?

Well, researchers suspect people who pee at night may eat more sodium, which causes them to retain water and pee more. Eating a lot of sodium is also a risk factor for high blood pressure.

Tackling high blood pressure and nighttime urination

So, if you’re up several times a night to go to the bathroom, it may be worth checking your blood pressure just to be on the safe side. In the study, researchers categorized high blood pressure as 140/90 mmHg or higher (although, the new guidelines in the U.S. categorize it as anything over 130/80).

If you test yourself and find out you have high blood pressure, there are plenty of ways to get that high BP down, like exercising, losing weight, sleeping enough, setting aside time for relaxation, cutting back on sodium and eating a diet filled with whole grains, veggies and fruits (especially blueberries).

But if your blood pressure is fine (and you don’t have any other health issues causing your frequent nighttime bathroom breaks) you may try these simple hacks for cutting down on that nighttime urination:

  • Drink less liquid in the evening. Hydrate heavier in the early part of the day and slow down as night sets in.
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol. Both are diuretics, which means they make you pee more.
  • Beware of other foods and drinks that can act as diuretics, like:
    • Melon
    • Cucumber
    • Cranberry juice
    • Soda
    • Soup
    • Drinks made from citrus fruits
    • Acidic foods like tomatoes
    • Spicy foods
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Chocolate

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  1. Trips to the toilet at night are a sign of high blood pressure — MedicalXpress
  2. Daily salt intake is an independent risk factor for pollakiuria and nocturiaInternational Journal of Urology
  3. New high blood pressure guidelines: Think your blood pressure is fine? Think again… — Harvard Health Publishing
  4. How to treat an overactive bladder at night — Medical News Today
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and