Sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behavior where a person walks or performs other complex behavior during deep sleep. Sleepwalking is much more common with children (aged three to seven) than with adults and with people who are sleep deprived. So much so, that it leaves many parents asking what are the symptoms of sleepwalking?
A sleepwalker usually remains in a deep sleep during the process, so that she doesn’t remember the sleepwalking incident when she wakes up. The entire process mostly lasts 5 to 15 minutes.
Sleepwalking is generally considered harmless to our overall health, but it could be dangerous in some cases. Let’s see what causes the symptoms of sleepwalking are and how to solve it.
Symptoms of Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking occurs while a sleepwalker is in a deep sleep, but it may also happen in lighter sleep, usually an hour or two after falling asleep. The person might be partially conscious of what he’s doing.
Some of the symptoms of sleepwalking are:
- sitting in bed and repeating specific movements such as rubbing eyes
- sleep talking
- little or no memory of the event
- difficulty arousing a sleepwalker during an episode
- inappropriate behavior (urinating in the closet, for example)
- sleeping (when sleepwalking occurs at the same time with sleep terrors)
- violent attacks on the person who’s trying to wake a sleepwalker.
Sleepwalking can be dangerous not only for the sleepwalker but also for other people. The patient might:
- leave the house
- drive a car
- get injured by falling out of a window or down the stairs.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Occasional episodes of sleepwalking are not something to be concerned about, because they might be a result of sleep deprivation and will go away on its own. However, you should see your doctor if the episodes of sleepwalking:
- often occur (a couple of times per week or a few times a night)
- lead to dangerous behavior or injury for you or others
- cause a massive sleep disruption of people in the same household
- start the first time when you’re an adult
- continue in your teen years.
Causes of Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking is unwelcome behavior or experience during deep sleep, also classified as parasomnia. It is a disorder that occurs during the deepest stage of non-rapid eye movement (NERM) sleep, also known as the N3 stage of sleep. Sleep terrors are also a NERM disorder that can occur at the same time as sleepwalking.
Many factors can lead to sleepwalking, some of which are:
- sleep deprivation
- stress, anxiety
- sleep schedule disruption, sleep, or interruptions
- noisy surroundings.
In some cases, sleepwalking can be caused by conditions that interfere with sleep, such as:
- taking particular medication (for example hypnotics, sedatives, or medications used for treating psychiatric disorders)
- sleep disorder breathing (for example, obstructive sleep apnea)
- substance abuse such as alcohol
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- restless leg symptom
- heart rhythm problems.
Some factors that may increase the risk of sleepwalking are the following:
- Genetics. Sleepwalking usually appears in families. If one or both of your parents have sleepwalking history, the chances of you developing the same disorder are higher. Identical twins are more likely to sleepwalk.
- Age. Sleepwalking occurs more with children aged three to seven than with teenagers or adults.
Technology made a significant impact on everybody’s lives. The latest sleeping-related technology can change your life for the better. If you have problems with sleepwalking, then you should consider using one of the following tech solutions.
Wave Premium Sleep
If the cause of your problem is the noisy surroundings, the best solution is Wave Premium Sleep. This sleep therapy sound machine is designed by Pure Enrichment, and it can be used with babies, teens, and adults.
The machine can drown out the noises from TV, dog barking, loud family, etc. It’s perfect not only for people with sleeping disorders such as sleepwalking but also for children who are writing an essay or learning for a test.
The other tech innovation to help you sleep better is Marpac. It is a sleep sound machine that will calm you down and settle your brain down before falling asleep. Marpac will quiet your mind and keep you from focusing on disruptive sounds that interfere with your sleeping schedule.
Do you have symptoms of sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is a rare condition that affects only between 1-15% of the world’s population. However, if your sleepwalking affects your everyday life, your sleep, or your relationships with other people, don’t lose hope! You can get one of the newest sleeping machines or see the doctor, and your condition will probably disappear in no time.