Here Is Why You Might Be Sleepwalking

Here Is Why You Might Be Sleepwalking

Some sleepwalkers exhibit mild symptoms and will simply sit up in bed or start speaking while asleep. People who actually get up and walk around during a deep sleep can put themselves in danger.

Sleepwalking is a disorder that causes people to get up and walk while they're asleep. It usually happens when a person is going from deep sleep to light sleep or into the awake state. The sleepwalker can't respond during the event and usually doesn't remember it. In some cases, he may talk and not make sense. You'll agree this sounds dangerous. We'll discuss the dangers of sleepwalking below: Sleepwalking mostly happens in childhood, typically between the ages of 4 and 8. But adults can do it, too. Children usually outgrow it by the time they are teenagers. But in an adult, sleepwalking may indicate an even bigger sleep disorder.

Dangers Of Sleepwalking: Symptoms

dangers of sleepwalking

Sleepwalking can involve strange, inappropriate and even violent behaviors. Someone who is sleepwalking may:

  • Get out of bed and walk around
  • Sitting up in bed and repeating movements, such as rubbing eyes or tugging on pajamas
  • Looking dazed (sleepwalkers' eyes are open but they do not see the same way they do when they are fully awake)
  • Being clumsy
  • Not responding when spoken to
  • Being difficult to wake up
  • Sleep talking
  • Urinating in undesirable places
  • Have a glazed, glassy-eyed expression
  • Do routine daily actions
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Be confused
  • Quickly return to sleep
  • Not remember what happened
  • Have sleep terrors

In rare cases someone who is sleepwalking may:

  • Leave the house
  • Drive a car
  • Engage in unusual behavior, such as urinating in a closet
  • Engage in sexual activity without awareness
  • Get injured
  • Become violent

Causes Of Sleepwalking

dangers of sleepwalking

Several things can lead to sleepwalking.

It can run in the family. Identical twins are more likely to sleepwalk. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who sleepwalks, you're 10 times more likely to do so than someone from a family with no sleepwalkers.

You might also have the disorder if you're:

  • Lacking sleep or fatigued
  • Having interrupted sleep or inefficient sleep (including from disorders like sleep apnea)
  • Ill with a fever
  • Certain medications
  • Stressed, have anxiety
  • Going to bed with a full bladder
  • Noisy sleep environment/different sleep environment
  • Sleep-deprived
  • On a chaotic sleep schedule
  • Stressed
  • Drunk
  • Taking drugs such as sedative-hypnotics (which promote relaxation or sleep), neuroleptics (used to treat psychosis), stimulants (which boost activity), and antihistamines (used to treat symptoms of allergy)

Medical conditions that have been linked to sleepwalking include:

  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Fever
  • Heartburn
  • Nighttime asthma
  • Nighttime seizures
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (a condition in which you briefly stop breathing during sleep)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Psychiatric disorders, for example, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, or dissociative states, such as multiple personality disorder

Risks And Dangers Of Sleepwalking

Here Is Why You Might Be Sleepwalking

Some sleepwalkers exhibit mild symptoms and will simply sit up in bed or start speaking while asleep. People who actually get up and walk around during a deep sleep can put themselves in danger. Sleepwalkers have been known to leave their houses and walk into roads. Some have also even attempted to drive while sleeping. To reduce dangers, it is important to create a safe sleep environment. Breakable or sharp objects should be removed from the area around the bed. To prevent falls, gates can be installed on stairways, and doors and windows can be locked to prevent sleepwalkers from exiting the home.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for sleepwalking. In many cases simply improving your sleep hygiene may eliminate the problem. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should talk to your doctor or a sleep specialist about ways to prevent injury during the episodes and about the possibility of underlying illness. Also, discuss with your doctor or pediatrician any factors, like fatigue, medication, or stress, that can trigger symptoms.

Treatment for sleepwalking in adults may include hypnosis. In fact, there are many cases in which sleepwalking patients have successfully treated their symptoms with hypnosis alone. Also, pharmacological therapies such as sedative-hypnotics or antidepressants have been helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking in some people.

Sleepwalking is common in children and is usually outgrown over time, especially as the amount of deep sleep decreases. If symptoms persist through adolescence, consult your doctor or psychiatrist.

How To Stop Sleepwalking

If you or your partner or child sleepwalk, here are some steps to take:

  • Start by focusing on your sleep habits and creating a routine for going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day.
  • Make sure to have a "power-down hour" before hitting the pillow. Find ways to unwind from the day. Try a warm bath and light reading.
  • Create a safe environment, especially for sleepwalking children. Remove sharp objects, lock doors and windows, and install gates on stairways.
  • A door alarm can often be helpful.
  • Ask your doctor about other options if the problem persists.

Sleep Foundation

Web MD

Also read: What To Do When You Are Struggling To Sleep

Written by

AyeeSha