A very interesting article, suggesting that bedwetting children should wear protection to get a good night’s sleep.
The first finding is perhaps not surprising: undiapered bedwetting children have significantly worse sleep quality than non-bedwetters. Undiapered bedwetters have more activity during sleep and shorter periods of continuous sleep.
The second finding may be more surprising, and is certainly more interesting: Diapered bedwetters have significantly better sleep quality than undiapered bedwetters – indeed, the sleep quality for diapered bedwetters is substantially similar to that of non-bedwetters.
In comparison to [non-bedwetters], children with enuresis who did not wear night diapers had poorer sleep quality as reflected by both actigraphic measures (more activity during sleep and shorter periods of continuous sleep) and one reported measure (lower sleep quality). However, no differences were found on any of the sleep measures between children with enuresis wearing night diapers and [non-bedwetters]. The reported sleep quality of all children with enuresis with and without night diapers was lower than [non-bedwetters].
Given the importance of quality sleep, the authors conclude that doctors and nurses should recommend that a bedwetting child sleep in a diaper:
Our results suggest that sleep patterns of school-aged children with enuresis who do not wear night diapers are impaired, and the sleep quality of children using night diapers is similar to those of [non-bedwetters]. Thus, clinicians and healthcare providers should consider recommending sleeping with night diapers for untreated children with enuresis, based on its positive impact on sleep.
This confirms my advice that parents offer protection to a bedwetting child. Indeed, this indicates that my advice was not be strong enough: For a good night’s sleep, protection may be essential. As I say in the update to that post,
A bedwetter should wear protection.
A parent of a young bedwetter should insist on protection.
A parent of a bedwetter old enough to make a mature decision should offer and very strongly recommend and encourage protection.
The authors close with an interesting comment: Diapering at older ages does not have a negative effect on a bedwetter, nor does it perpetuate bedwetting. Diapering will lower stress and shame and improve “the child’s well-being and psychologic functioning”.
Speaking from my own, my siblings’ and my children’s experience, I think that is certainly true. A wet diaper is less stressful and shameful than a wet bed, and no child wants to wake up in either a wet bed or a wet diaper.
Of course, as I have suggested, it is probably not good salesmanship to call it a diaper, even if the authors of the study do!
Kushner, Cohen-Zrubavel, Kushnir, “Night diapers use and sleep in children with enuresis”
[Thanks to commenter George for passing on this citation.]