Melatonin and Bedwetting

My child takes Melatonin to help him sleep. He is 9 and has always had bed wetting. Does this medication make it worse? What can we do to help him have dry nights?

A recent study looked at the relationship of melatonin and bedwetting. In this small study of 24 patients, 11 persons used synthetic melatonin and 13 used a placebo. After 3 and 6 months, the frequency of bedwetting was evaluated. There was no difference in the sleep-wake cycle or the frequency of wet nights in either group.

I think this study was looking at Melatonin as a possible treatment for bed wetting, with the thought that it could help children to sleep differently. It concluded that it did nothing to increase or decrease the frequency of wetting. In this study, there was no difference in the children’s sleep patterns, either.

Studies of the benefits of melatonin for sleep disorders have been published for healthy populations, for children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, for children and youth with autism, and for several other special populations. These studies demonstrate some benefit with minimal side effects. Long-term melatonin use has not been studied in children.

In my experience, children who have been taking Melatonin can still respond to a bed wetting alarm to help them learn to stay dry. They readily go back to sleep after the alarm sounds so it does not interfere with sleep in the nighttime. Some families have experimented with the timing of the dose of Melatonin but have not noticed a marked difference. Your son could safely use a bed wetting alarm to alert him when wetting is occurring.

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