Sleepwalking is one of the best-known sleep disorders; it occurs when a person can walk, speak and perform various activities while asleep. This condition is more common in children than in adults; however, many patients who have suffered from it during childhood may present episodes during adulthood, especially in periods of significant stress or when there is no adequate rest. The situation can be worrying for those who live with a sleepwalker because we tend to fear for their safety or well-being. It is essential to understand this sleep disorder to take the measures that help reduce episodes; that is why at FastlyHealwe, explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment of SleepwalkingSleepwalking.
What exactly is sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is understood to be a sleep disorder in which the person can get out of bed, get out of it, walk around the room or at home and even perform automatic actions such as talking, moving furniture, eating, dressing, and in some cases getting out of the house, which is known as complete SleepwalkingSleepwalking. There is another form of this condition, incomplete SleepwalkingSleepwalking, in which the person gets up but ends up not leaving the bed, lying down again.
This condition usually occurs during the stage of deep non-REM sleep, in which the most vivid dreams are not yet manifested. It is wrongly believed that sleepwalkers act according to the scenes they live in their goals, but it is now known that because most display the disorder in a non-REM stage, they are not dreaming vividly or intensely. Sleepwalkers are usually active during the deep desynchronized sleep cycle, so the episodes typically occur in the first hours of rest and last for 10 minutes, although they could last for half an hour or more.
The common thing is that the sleepwalking person returns to bed by himself or falls asleep in any other part of the house; in these cases, when waking up, there is usually some confusion. Although many of the people who suffer from this disorder do not remember what they have done when they wake up, there is a group that can identify the cases in which they have been sleepwalking and place, as we do with a dream, some of the actions that have performed overnight.
Why is a person sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is more common in children than in adults, occurring more frequently between the ages of 5 and 12, although, as we have already explained above, it can also affect adults.
The causes of SleepwalkingSleepwalking are not precisely known. However, several aspects are known to trigger this condition. At present, the theory is that this sleep disorder can be hereditary since it frequently occurs in children with one or both parents who have been sleepwalking. However, there are other causes related to good rest that can trigger episodes of SleepwalkingSleepwalking. :
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep for several days.
- Anxiety and stress.
- It is higher in children with other disorders such as night terrors or enuresis (peeing in bed).
Stress, fatigue, and anxiety are also common triggers for sleepwalking in adults; however, other causes can lead to this condition, such as:
- Consumption of alcohol or drugs.
- Having epilepsy or having had seizures.
- I suffer from various mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.
- If SleepwalkingSleepwalking begins in old age, then it may indicate REM sleep disorder or age-related loss of mental faculties.
The symptoms of SleepwalkingSleepwalking are usually quite straightforward; however, for those who have never witnessed an episode, it is not easy to detect whether the person is asleep or awake. The most common signs are:
- The person gets out of bed, walks, and performs activities with the eyes open.
- The sleepwalker’s face is expressionless.
- They can speak and start conversations with meaningless phrases or have no connection to the action they are taking.
- If for some reason, they wake up during the sleepwalking episode, the person often feels disoriented and confused.
- If the sleepwalker is awakened, his reaction may be somewhat violent or aggressive due to the confusion of the episode.
- In cases of incomplete SleepwalkingSleepwalking, the child or adult can sit up, speak or make gestures or movements but without getting out of bed.
Are there any risks when sleepwalking?
Many people wonder if being a sleepwalker represents danger. Although the answer is generally negative, it is essential to remember that some sleepwalkers are injured or tripped when sleepwalking, leading to falls and various injuries. In these cases, it is recommended that if there is a sleepwalker at home (child or adult), we do not leave objects crossed in corridors or at the entrance of the rooms and collect all those toys or things that can cause falls.
Additionally, the windows and doors must remain tightly closed as some sleepwalkers can run away from home, a more common condition than it seems. Regarding the general health of the person, SleepwalkingSleepwalking is usually a harmless condition that subsides over time when sleeping habits are improved, and stress is reduced. If the person has episodes of violence or aggression when sleepwalking, it is recommended to consult a specialist in sleep disorders.
It is entirely false the myth that waking up a sleepwalker can be dangerous. There is no danger in waking someone who is sleepwalking; however it should be avoided and try to return the person to bed gently, this is because if we wake up the sleepwalker, he will feel confused and disoriented, so the idea is to accompany him until her bed so she can continue to sleep.
Sleepwalking treatment and prevention
Most patients do not need any treatment for sleepwalking as the condition usually goes away on its own. In cases of anxiety or high stress, medical treatment with painkillers of short duration can help reduce the episodes. However, it must be administered and supervised by a doctor.
If the patient suffers from mental disorders, alcoholism, epilepsy, and other conditions that trigger the episodes, they should be treated to end sleepwalking.
To prevent sleepwalking, it is recommended:
- Have adequate sleep hygiene by going to bed simultaneously each day and sleeping at least 8 hours a day. This will help prevent fatigue by reducing episodes.
- Avoid insomnia, one of the triggers of this condition. If the sleepwalker has insomnia frequently, it is essential to consult a specialist.
- Control stress and anxiety in the child or adult. Exercising daily, engaging in relaxing practices such as yoga or meditation, and controlling personal demands are good ways to achieve this.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to SleepwalkingSleepwalking: causes, symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.