Is there a relationship between bedwetting and sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking (somnambulism) is a sleep disorder. The sleepwalker awakes from the stage of slow wave sleep; he is in a state of low consciousness and does things that are usually performed during a state of full consciousness, such as sitting in his bed or walking to the bathroom.

During bedwetting treatment with a bedwetting alarm, some parents report that a child’s nocturnal activities are very similar to sleepwalking—the child wakes up and walks in the house. He might urinate in strange places, such as a cabinet drawer, on the living room carpet, or even open the fridge door and urinate there.

Parents are rightly concerned about this behavior, but although these activities are identical to a sleepwalking disorder, we do not diagnose these children as sleepwalkers.

Most bedwetters never experience arousal during sleep. During the bedwetting treatment process, the child learns to recognize the signal from the pressured bladder to the brain. When the signal is strong and the child isn’t in the stage of deep sleep, he might wake up to empty his bladder in the bathroom. Since this is a new behavior that the child isn’t yet accustomed to and since he is in a state of disorientation, he might end the act of emptying his bladder outside the bathroom, sometimes even on the way to the bathroom.

This undesired behavior is only temporary, though, and eventually the child will learn to empty his bladder only in the bathroom.

Meanwhile, parents are advised to do the following to end this undesired stage as quickly as possible:

  1. Before bedtime, perform a simulation during which the child will lie in his bed and close his eyes. The bedwetting alarm will be activated, and the child will stop the alarm and go to the bathroom.
  2. Leave a light on in the bathroom.
  3. Make sure that no obstacles are in his way to the bathroom.
  4. When your child wakes up, accompany him to the bathroom.

To sum up, during the bedwetting process, most bedwetters will skip this stage, but for those bedwetters that experience this unpleasant stage, remember that it is only temporary, and you can help your child to go through this stage with minimal damage.