Children and Bedwetting – Cure for Nocturnal Enuresis?


Babies wet their diapers during their sleep, but as they grow in time, their brains develop and eventually tell their bodies/bladders to hold it until they wake up. But in children who wet the bed it appears there is something that is amiss. Bedwetting—called nocturnal enuresis—can be helped, however, since researchers have discovered that peeing the bed has more to do with sleep patterns and sleep apnea.

As a mother of three (two of them were bed wetters) plus the fact that I was a bed wetter until age 14, when I finally grew out of it, have a cousin and uncle who were also bed wetters, I can say with assurance that I am well aware of the inherited aspect of bed wetting. When my youngest was still little we went to the doctor, who in turn sent my child to the sleep lab where it was determined that the issue was a ‘deep sleep’ problem.

Some studies show that deep sleep and sleep apnea may both be at fault.

Study shows bedwetting correlations with sleep issues

This relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and nocturnal enuresis (NE) was studied by MS Su, AM Li, et al., at the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Wenzhou Medical College Affiliated Second Hospital-Yuying Children’s Hospital, in Zhejiang, China. Their research covered primary school children (ages 6-11) who were urinating in their sleep unawares by comparing them to children with NE who did not have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

The children were screened for sleep apnea (low-risk and high-risk groups) participated in overnight polysomnography (PSG). Of the 3,032 girls and 3,115 boys (6,147 children total) that were studied the total prevalence of NE was 4.6% (6.7% of boys, 2.5% of girls) with boys having an overall prevalence across all of the age groups.

In 597 (215 were girls) children who participated in the PSG testing the bedwetting group was not greater in children in general who had sleep apnea, but it was increased, including increased severity in girls only. Boys with bedwetting tended to have longer deep sleep patterns. The conclusions were that sex and sleep-related symptoms were associated with wetting the bed.

As for my family, deep sleep and sleep apnea do run in the family, as well as bedwetting. I learned as an adult that I have sleep apnea and have always known that I was a deep sleeper. However, had I known that just getting more sleep (for my child it was recommended for 10-12 hrs/night minimum, and not to withhold drinking water before bedtime) would have solved the problem I would have been able to avoid the myriad of strange “bedwetting cures” that my parents subjected me to as a kid, including the electric sheets, eating cinnamon sticks, and other oddities.

According to some sources bedwetting is treatable using natural means (no drugs). Although I cannot account for those methods in my family, just sleeping several extra hours each night solved the bedwetting problem.


The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at and Vancouver Health News at  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at, plus our newest portal at

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