• Directory of Taiwan

Taipei urologist says need to urinate at night linked to screens and mobile phone use

Claims blue light from screens affects biological clock and leads to more frequent visits to bathroom at night

(Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Needing to urinate often during the night could be caused by using 3C products such as mobile phones before sleeping, according to a urologist in New Taipei City.

The Director of Haoxingfu Urology Clinic in Sanchong District, Gao Ming-hung (高銘鴻) said Friday (Nov. 3) in a Facebook post that new research shows blue light from screens is a contributory cause of nocturia. Typically, this involves watching TV or being on the phone before bedtime.

Though Gao does not give the source for his information, Harvard Health Publishing and other authorities have made similar claims. They believe light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, which helps sleep, but blue light at night does so more powerfully.

Blue wavelength light is said to be helpful during daylight when it boosts the mood, reaction time, and concentration. However, it causes disruption at night and the ubiquity of electronic screens that emit blue light is seen as a problem.

  • Nocturia is needing to get out of bed at night to urinate
  • It is not a disease but could be a symptom of a condition
  • Sleep problems, reduced bladder capacity, and excess urine production are three common causes
  • Other causes are both psychological and physical

The Sleep Foundation, based in the United States, says about 50% of men in their 70s have to wake up at least twice a night to urinate, and up to 80% of senior citizens may experience the problem.

Urinary tract infections and bladder stones can cause a decrease in bladder size and lead to more nightly urination, as can prostate problems in males. Nocturnal polyuria is the production of excess urine at night and is said to be a contributing cause in as many as 88% of cases.

Meanwhile, Gao is quoted by the China Times as saying that blue light in 3C products affects the body's biological clock.

“When a person is stimulated by blue light, the brain will mistakenly think it is daytime, thereby inhibiting the secretion of melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep), causing difficulty falling asleep. At the same time, too much blue light can mislead the brain and treat night as day, thereby inhibiting the secretion of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), leading to polyuria at night.”

Gao added that nocturia is not just a problem for the elderly these days, however, as younger people are increasingly coming to him with symptoms. He blames the ubiquity and use of screens for this.

To ensure a good night's rest, he recommends reducing exposure to blue light before going to sleep at night.

  1. Avoid using 3C products at least one hour before bedtime
  2. Maintain a fixed schedule to help regulate the biological clock
  3. Use night mode on devices such as phones, tablets, and TVs

Finally, Gao urged that if you go to the bathroom more than twice a night, mention this to your doctor.