This is a great question, and for most people the answer is zero. The majority of healthy adults should be able to sleep through the night without waking up to go to the bathroom. Getting up to go once a night on occasion is also considered normal.
For older adults, above the age of 65, waking up once a night to urinate is considered normal and on occasion getting up twice a night is still normal.
If you are waking up more than once a night to go to the bathroom, then likely you are really tired during the day. We now know that sleep is so important to our overall health, both mental and physical. It is when our body and brain rest and re-set.
Lack of sleep is linked to higher risk of heart attack among many other health conditions.
If you are a man and are getting up frequently at night to urinate, and you go to the bathroom frequently during the day then you should get your prostate checked. This is the most common reason men urinate frequently, due to an enlarged prostate that is pushing on the bladder. It may be benign, meaning there is no bad reason it is enlarged, or it could indicate prostate cancer. Either way, you should get it checked out.
If you are a new mom and you are waking up at night to care for a baby, this is a temporary phase and your bladder may be responding to you already being awake. If baby starts sleeping through the night, but you are still waking up to pee, then you should get your bladder checked out.
Pelvic floor therapy can help with bladder symptoms, but if we can't help you sleep through the night, or at least wake up less often to urinate, within a few months then we will send you for other medical tests.
Often I find in my patients, if their only bladder complaint is waking up at night to urinate, it likely isn't a pelvic floor muscle issue and maybe more of a medical issue. If they are urinating frequently during the day and at night, then often we can make changes with pelvic floor therapy.
If pelvic floor therapy doesn't help I often recommend getting tested for sleep apnea next. Often what happens is we wake up at night because our body and brain aren't getting enough oxygen (sleep apnea) and then we go to the bathroom out of habit. Or we assume we woke up because our bladder was full, and then it becomes a habit to urinate multiple times during the night.
Our body produces hormones that slow down the production of urine at night so we don't have to get up to pee. This hormone sometimes takes awhile to come to maturity in kids which can be a reason why older kids wet the bed even though they are potty trained. In adults, this hormone should be working fully and allowing us to sleep through the night without having to go to the bathroom, which is why we look to sleep apnea next.
If you are waking up more than once a night you could be sleeping more. Here is a summary of what to get checked:
1. Get your prostate checked if you are a man over the age of 40
2. See a pelvic floor therapist
3. Get a sleep apnea test
I hope this helps you know what is normal and where to look for help. If you are getting up more than once a night to pee set up a phone call so we can chat to figure out if pelvic floor therapy is the best next step for you.
I wish many nights of deep sleep to you.