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Sleep Disruption due to 'Need-to-Pee' Could Be Blamed on Genes

Update Date: Jun 09, 2012 07:14 PM EDT

No one likes to be woken up in the middle of a night with the need-to-pee feeling.

Even if you swear not to drink anything prior to sleep, it might not help! Because scientists claim that waking up in the night with a need to urinate could have to do with your genes.

For the study, Japanese researchers studied the urination patterns in mice. Their findings suggest that the bladder muscles of the mice were often regulated by circadian rhythms(sleep cycle), which can be subjective to our genes.

It seems mice with a normal circadian rhythm pee less at night, allowing them to sleep continuously and get ample rest. However, mice with an abnormal circadian rhythm urinate as many times in the night as they have done during the day, according to the research published in Nature Communications.

Also, researchers found that a certain protein called Cx43 found in the bladder muscle cells and largely controlled by our genes can determine how many times a person wakes up to urinate during the night. Lower level of Cx43 protein meant more number of times a person would feel like urinating during the night, thus implementing that genes could be responsible for the mid-night awakenings.

However, waking up to urinate up to once a night is not considered to be an issue, according to Beri Ridgeway, M.D., a urogynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic, reports Huffington Post.

"The issue becomes problematic when that happens two or more times a night -- that's called nocturia [or nocturnal polyuria]. It's waking with the need to urinate, and it's so strong that you can't go back to sleep until you empty your bladder," she explains.

Although bladder strength and capacity do alter in accordance to progression in one's age, it is important to find out the root cause of mid-night interruptions during sleep. (It could be one of sleep apnea, a small bladder, our genes, etc.)

"Down the road, we may be able to harness the [Cx43 protein] idea as a treatment," says Ridgeway, "by regulating those genes to produce more or less of that protein, which can change the amount of urine that the bladder can hold."

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