Are “bad” sleepers more likely to have bedwetting?

Ma, Li, Jiang, Jin, Zhang, Yan, Tian, Shen, and Li (2018) wanted to understand if children with sleep dysfunction were more likely to have bedwetting. Over 20,000 children were surveyed through several questionnaires. They compared those that wet the bed with those that did not.  They found that boys with bedwetting were more likely to have bedtime resistance, sleep duration disorder, night awakening, sleep anxiety, sleep-disordered breathing, and daytime sleepiness.  Girls with bedwetting were more likely to have parasomnias. It’s unclear what causes what.  Does bedwetting impact sleep quality or does sleep quality impact bedwetting? Since parents often describe their child as a “deep sleeper” would improving their sleep quality cure their bedwetting? These questions are yet to be answered. 

My opinion:  When treating children I try to impact their quality of life as a whole.  I review proper sleep hygiene with them and their family.  I recommend that a 10-year-old gets 10 hours of sleep, a child under 10 years old gets more and an 18-year-old gets 9 hours of sleep.  This is a rough guideline that’s easy to remember.  I encourage them to turn off screens 30 minutes before bed and read a book on paper.  It’s also crucial that they void before turning off the lights.  Sleep deprivation has been shown to negatively affect a child’s school performance and increase their chance of obesity.  Even if my recommendations don’t improve their wetting, it’s a healthy habit to initiate.

Ma, J., Li, S., Jiang, F., Jin, X., Zhang, Y., Yan, C., . . . Li, F. (2018). Relationship between sleep patterns, sleep problems, and childhood enuresis. Sleep Medicine, 50, 14-20. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2018.05.022