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. If sleepwalking affects you or a loved one, read on for helpful tips on sleepwalking…
What is sleepwalking 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, or even perform ordinary activities — all whilst asleep. Your eyes can be open, but you’re firmly 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 sleepwalking
– Sleep deprivation
– Breathing disorders
– Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
– Certain medications
How do you know if someone is sleepwalking?
Sleepwalkers 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, and If you sleepwalk often, or if your sleepwalking is causing problems with your daily functioning or your relationships, You may want to talk to your doctor to rule out underlying conditions that can cause you to sleepwalk.
Sleepwalking often runs in families. It can also be caused by stress, sleep deprivation, certain medications, breathing disorders, neurological conditions, stress, fever, and migraine.