6.9% of people experience at least one episode of sleepwalking in their life. Although the prevalence of sleepwalking is significantly higher in children, about 1.5% of adults have had a sleepwalking episode beyond their childhood years.
Sleepwalking, or Somnambulism, can be caused by medications, genetics, or health conditions that disrupt your sleep. Whether sleep walking affects you to a loved one, read on for helpful tips on sleep walking..
What is sleep walking and what causes it?
Sleepwalking is a sleeping disturbance that occurs in the deepest part of your nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. It most often occurs within 1 to 2 hours of falling asleep. During an episode of sleepwalking, you may sit up, walk around, and even perform ordinary activities — all while sleeping. Your eyes are open, but you’re actually still in a deep state of sleep.
More common in children than adults, sleepwalking is often outgrown by the teen years. But not everyone stops sleepwalking once they’re adults. Sleep researchers have identified several health conditions, activities, and substances that are known to trigger sleepwalking episodes.
Causes of sleep walking
– Sleep deprivation
– Breathing disorders
– Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
– Certain medications
How do you know if someone is sleep walking?
People who are sleepwalking usually do not respond when you try to get their attention. They may have a glazed or distant look in their eyes.
According to sleep experts, sleepwalkers can also engage in other activities while they’re in their sleepwalking state, including:
- Preparing food
- Urinating in places that aren’t toilets
- Trying to leave the house
Most of the time, people do not remember an episode of sleepwalking when they wake up. If you wake someone up while they’re sleepwalking, they may be confused about what’s going on.
Speak to a doctor
Most children grow out of sleepwalking by the time they reach their teenage years, without ever needing treatment. However, if your sleepwalking didn’t begin until you were an adult, you may want to talk to your doctor to rule out underlying conditions that can cause you to sleepwalk.
If you sleepwalk often, or if your sleepwalking is causing problems with your daily functioning or your relationships, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor. Sleepwalking is a sleep disturbance in which you walk, talk, or do other activities while you’re in a deep state of sleep. It happens in the deepest part of your sleep cycle, usually within an hour or two of going to sleep.
More common in children than adults, sleepwalking is often outgrown by the teen years. But not everyone stops sleepwalking once they’re adults. Sleepwalking often runs in families. It can also be caused by stress, sleep deprivation, certain medications, breathing disorders, neurological conditions, stress, fever, and migraine.
If you sleepwalk often, or if your nighttime wandering is causing problems, either at night or during the day. It’s a good idea to follow up with your doctor.