Sleep Walking and Bed Wetting: Is there a relationship?



Somnambulism, or “sleep walking”, is considered a sleep disorder.  Sleep walkers are in a state of very low consciousness as they are awakened from their slow wave stage of sleep.  This results in many sleep walkers attempting to, or performing, activities that are usually done in a very conscious stage.  Sleep walkers sit up in bed, walk to another room (bathroom, kitchen), and may even attempt to do things like watch television.

There are times that, when treating bedwetting with the use of a bed wetting alarm, children demonstrate activities that are very similar to that of sleep walking.  Such activities as walking through house, opening doors, urinating in strange places have all been reported and are not uncommon. Children may urinate in drawers, bath tubs, even the refrigerator.

This can cause a great deal of concern for parents and even more so for the child.  However, doctors tend not to diagnose these instances with somnambulism.

The issue is this: Bed wetters are not usually triggered to get up and go pee during their sleep.  So, when in treatment and the pressure on the bladder is felt or when the bed wetting alarm goes off, the child will wake up and attempt to do the right thing which is go to the bathroom and urinate. However, this is all new to the child and they may not succeed at all times.  The outcome is the pattern of behavior that is sometimes considered sleep walking and accidentally urinating in places other than the bathroom.

Many times a child will urinate on the way to the bathroom.

This type of behavior is a cause of a stress for the child as well as the parents.  And while it is only temporary behavior it is a good idea to help the child the through this stage by doing the following things:

  1. Simulate going to the bathroom. Have your child lay down in bed and trigger the bed wetting alarm.  Have the child stop the alarm and go to the bathroom.  This instills habit and recognition that will be valuable during the semi-conscious awakenings during the night.
  2. Leave the bathroom light on or have night lights that turn on when motion activated so that it is a clear path.
  3. Clear the way to the bathroom of the obstacles likes chairs, boxes, hampers, and laundry baskets.
  4. If possible, awake with your child and accompany and guide them to the bathroom. DO NOT become frustrated or angry at any point.


There is a great chance that during bed wetting treatment that your child will skip this stage altogether as many children do.  Remember, though, that this entire process is an unpleasant one for all involved and especially the child.  With some proper planning and an open mind then you can assure that your child goes through this stressful stage with as much as little difficulty as possible.

In many of these situations a bed wetting alarm is your and your child’s best friend as it can greatly reduce these occurrences and help speed through troublesome stages of bed wetting treatment.