How is Bedwetting Related to Sleep Disordered Breathing?

Sad daughter hugging mom's legs

To a certain point in a child’s development, bedwetting can be a fairly normal occurrence, because the kidneys, bladder, and many associated muscles have not developed fully.  However, after about age 6, development should be complete and bedwetting no longer an issue. For some children this problem persists, and one of the major causes could be sleep disordered breathing.  

Reasons your child experiences bedwetting episodes:


Lack of Deep Sleep

During deep sleep, a hormone is produced that decreases bladder production.  When a child does not achieve deep sleep, less of this hormone is produced, and the child will continue producing urine and a greater need to urinate at night.

Restricted or Obstructed Airway

If a child does not breathe well at night, the heart rate remains elevated, and leads to elevated in blood pressure. One way the body attempts to lower blood pressure is eliminating fluids, which leads to an increased need to urinate.

It is also true, a child experiencing sleep disordered breathing, the brain does not function normally.  This causes the body to withdraw into a protective mode and results in some bodily functions, such as urination and bladder control, to be overlooked. (This reaction also occurs during high adrenaline-inducing events such as fright and fear.) When the body does not receive enough oxygen, it enters this same type of “Fight or Flight” response and the bladder releases. 

If you suspect your child is having difficulty sleeping, there are some signs you can look for.

  • Snoring, noisy breathing and mouth breathing can be indicative of breathing and sleep problems.
  • If your child is restless and moves around a lot during sleep, they probably aren’t reaching quality stages of sleep.
  • If your child displays dark circles under the eyes, daytime fatigue, or behavior issues, such as unusual aggression or hyperactivity, these can be signs that their sleep is not adequate at night.
  • Sometimes an inability to focus can be a sign of poor sleeping habits as well, possibly leading to ADD/ADHD and academic challenges in school.

Treatment for sleep disordered bedwetting

If you think your child may be suffering from sleep disordered bedwetting, we urge you to contact us at the Breathing and Sleep Center in Colorado Springs, CO. We can diagnose the root cause and work with you on a program of treatment to improve your child’s sleep, and hopefully eliminate their bedwetting.  

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