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Bedwetting children have inferior sleep quality

Children that suffer from bedwetting, also known as primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE), suffer from impaired brain function, sleep arousal disturbance and bladder dysfunction according to new results. With appropriate treatment however, these functions can be greatly improved. It is therefore concerning that almost half of parents ignore the problem in the hope it will go away.

Results suggest bedwetting children have inferior sleep quality compared to nonbedwetting children. Deep sleep occur significantly less and light sleep occur more with bedwetting children. Bedwetting children are aroused by frequent bladder activities and so suffer disturbed and light sleep, sleep fragmentation and sleep deprivation. Paradoxically, they have an elevated awakening threshold making it more difficult for them to wake up. In addition, their night-time bladder capacity is markedly reduced to 44% of the expected capacity for their age.

The research showed that six months of successful combination treatment comprising of desmopressin medication and urotherapy (aiming to correct the underlying bladder dysfunction) resulted in significant improvements with normalisation of sleep disturbance, brainstem functions and enhanced cognitive performance.

Parents lack awareness and understanding of bedwetting despite it being a chronic medical condition. Almost half of parents ignore the problem, while nearly a third delay action until the child is wetting the bed at least five times a week. Furthermore, 80% mistakenly believe stress and worry are the major causes of child bedwetting.