health tips, health and wellness

Do Bed Wetting and Snoring Have A Connection?

It was once believed that bed wetting was due to a sleeping disorder.

This is because in some children snoring appears to accompany bed wetting. Snoring in children can sometimes be a result of what is known as obstructive sleep apnea (abbreviated to OSA). This breathing problem is much more common in adults, especially middle aged men, than it is in children but children can still develop it. Obstructive sleep apnea means, "there is a partial blockade to or intermittent interruption of the flow of air to the lungs, enough to seriously interfere with breathing." The most common reason for OSA to develop is children are due to large adenoids. The adenoids are to be found situated behind the nasal passages and are similar in their function to tonsils as they are "collections of lymph glands" that serve to fight infection.


Making a Comparison Between Bed Wetting and Riding a Bicycle

It is generally considered by physicians that bed wetting is not a problem until it begins to take place on a more or less consistent basis in girls who are five years or older and boys who are six years and older. Boys tend to be developmentally slower in more areas than girls and this includes both daytime and nighttime bladder functions as well.

Often children who have dry beds for weeks or months on end and then begin bed wetting either have a medical problem such as a kidney infection, a bladder infection or the onset of juvenile diabetes or else they are suffering from severe stress that has brought it on. The latter is often referred to as secondary enuresis. If an illness is the cause of the bed wetting the emphasis has to be on proper treatment. However children who always have wet beds are not likely to have a physical oriented problem. It is more likely that they simply need to learn how to control their bladders.

Remaining dry all night long can be compared to learning to ride a bicycle. Some find it a simple skill to learn while others have a more difficult time mastering it. Learning to ride a bike is similar to nighttime bladder control because both are learned skills. When it comes to learning to ride a bicycle, the brain has to become attuned to the nuances of balance and it has to learn to shift and correct the body’s position as it moves about on the bike. At the same time the brain has to remember to watch for pedestrians and traffic, avoid bumps in the road as well as potholes and it has to make sure the feet using the pedals are in sync with the action of the brain.

When it comes to both sleeping and waking up dry in the morning, the brain has to be aware of when the bladder is full to capacity with urine and its response must be one of two things- it either must send a message to the brain that the child must be woken up immediately in order to urinate or it must squeeze and close off the urethra in order to keep the urine in place until the person is fully awake and can let the pee out of the body. All of these messages between the bladder and the brain must take place while a child is asleep in his bed. Both learning to master the skills that can enable you to ride a bike as well as learning to remain dry all night long seem almost impossible until you actually do. After that both bike riding and nighttime bladder control get easier.

This analogy works well for children who suffer from the angst of bed wetting. A child who admits with pride to having effectively learned to ride a two-wheeler can see the correlation between that and learning to stay dry. It is all a matter of learning how to do it and then to keep on doing the learned behavior properly.


Plenty of children who have large adenoids do snore but don’t necessarily suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Nor are they any more likely to wet their beds on a consistent basis. Those children who do develop obstructive sleep apnea suffer short periods of time throughout the night when they actually stop breathing all together. This can be a dangerous condition that can affect many areas of a person’s life including endangering their physical health, causing problems with school and friends and problems in the family. Obstructive sleep apnea in children can result in restless sleep at night, which can lead to excessive daytime tiredness. It can also lead to waking up feeling unrefreshed in the morning and morning headaches. Children who suffer from OSA have more trouble concentrating in school than do other children and they often suffer from memory loss and can be inattentive and grouchy towards others.

In those proponents who see a connection between OSA and bed wetting, they believe that it is the chemical imbalance that takes place in the brain due to obstructive sleep apnea that increases the potential for bed wetting. It is important to keep in mind that it is in only a small amount of children that snoring and/or OSA happens along with bed wetting. In the case of OSA for children, the adenoids and tonsils are often standard medical procedure and this seems to have a positive effect on the incidence of bed wetting as well. However this does not automatically mean that in children who both wet their beds on a regular basis and snore that they should have their tonsils and adenoids taken out. It is best to consider other options before going straight to surgery.


More Things to Consider about the Bed Wetting Alarm

Keep in mind that even with practice in the daytime the majority of children do not wake up right away when they first begin using a bed wetting alarm. Often children need to be coaxed to hear it and any help that a parent can give them can prove useful. It may mean some more or less sleepless nights for a parent but it would prove beneficial for a parent to go into the child’s room periodically throughout the night and listen for the alarm and/or wake up the child to see if he has to use the bathroom. Children can be disoriented in the night so if the child does need to urinate it would be wise to help your child to the bathroom. Doing this a few nights should get your child into the habit and pave the way for them to help themselves for that point on. Keep in mind that the aim of a bed wetting alarm (or moisture alarm) is to encourage a child to wake him or herself up before the buzzer goes off or to be able to hold in urine throughout the night and be dry upon waking in the morning.

Don’t allow your child to drink fluids right up until it is lights out and turn the radio, television and/or computer off fifteen minutes to a half an hour before the child crawls into bed. Having a bright strong night-light in the child’s bedroom can help facilitate a better response time to the moisture alarm and a safer trip to the washroom.

Once started a bed wetting alarm should be made use of every single night up until the point the child can go three to four weeks without wetting the bed. It is important to be patient and supportive during this time but also persistent with the nighttime training ritual. It takes most children an average of two to three months for the alarm to effectively work and for bladder control during the night to be achieved.

Keep a special bed wetting calendar for your child to record his or her progress. Every morning when he gets up have him write entries in the calendar according to what kind of a night it was. For example use the word "dry" to describe a night that the child successfully slept through the night and did not wet the bed at all and "wet" to describe a night when he did not get up and also for whatever reason did not hear the alarm or failed to respond to it. Other entries you could use include "dry, woke-up without alarm" and "wet spot" meaning that the child was woke up by the alarm and did get up to go to the bathroom.

There are some things that you must consider when you go to purchase a bed wetting alarm for your child. First of all be aware of the cost. Most bed wetting alarms range in price from fifty to one hundred dollars, but sometimes the more expensive styles are not necessarily better. Always buy an alarm that is easy to put together and will be comfortable for the child when he is asleep. Buy an alarm that is reliable to operate and sturdy enough that dropping it on the floor will not cause it to break. Buy an alarm that is easy to both clean and disinfect, as you will need to do both on a regular basis. Make sure the alarm won’t fall away from the child if he or she is a restless sleeper and always buy an alarm that senses a small amount of urine but will not be set off by sweat.


In instances where snoring and bed wetting began around the same approximate time it might be a good idea to discuss with the doctor if the tonsils and adenoids might be to blame. While snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is both considered "uncommon causes of bed wetting" the fact that they started occurring close together might be an indicator of where the problem lies. It is important to schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor to discuss all the health possibilities and implications of both snoring and bed wetting.