Steve Hodges, MD
At my pediatric urology clinic, just about every parent of a bedwetting child is convinced that “deep sleep” explains the wet sheets.
Parents tell me, “She’s such a deep sleeper that you could blast Motorhead in her room and she wouldn’t budge.”
Or, “When he’s out, he’s out — there’s no chance of waking him up.”
In many cases, the child’s pediatrician has confirmed this theory or suggested it in the first place. And when families search online, they find additional support for the idea that deep sleep causes bedwetting.
For example, under the heading “Causes of Bedwetting,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states: “Your child is a deep sleeper and does not awaken to the signal of a full bladder.” This statement tops a list of 8 bedwetting “causes.” And in an article titled "Nocturnal Enuresis in Teens," the AAP lists among the “contributing” factors to teenage bedwetting: “a deep sleep pattern that can be part of normal adolescent development, inconsistent sleep schedule and limited hours sleeping.”
On its website, the Enuresis Treatment Center calls bedwetting “a treatable sleep disorder” and claims that “targeting treatment to changing the sleep pattern will not only end the bedwetting, it will allow the bedwetter to experience better night’s sleep.”
There are two problems with the deep-sleep theory: 1.) it makes no sense, and 2.) no evidence supports it.