What is Sleepwalking?

There are stages to your sleep cycle that you will go through every night, light sleep, lighter sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. You will cycle through these levels all night and enter REM sleep up to 6 times.  

Sleepwalking is a condition that occurs as you are going from deep sleep to the wake up phase. You often won’t remember sleepwalking and won’t be able to respond to anyone. 

Although sleepwalking usually occurs in children, adults are prone too. Therefore, if a loved one is experiencing the following symptoms, consider making some changes to make them safer; lock all windows and doors at night, put a gate at the top of the stairs, hide their car keys, and lock away any sharp objects.  

Most people will not need any medical treatment for sleepwalking

Sleepwalking Symptoms

  • Quietly walking around their room at night 
  • Sitting up in bed continuously rubbing eyes or pulling on blanket or pajamas 
  • Eyes are open and appear glassy
  • Be unresponsive to questions
  • Behalve in a clumsy manner 
  • Talking in their sleep
  • Will have no memory of sleepwalking the following day     

Sleepwalking Causes

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Hereditary 
  • Fever 
  • Bout of stress 
  • Head injury 
  • Sleeping in a strange environment 
  • Not urinating before going to bed 
  • Certain medication (stimulants, psychosis medication, or antihistamines)    

Once the underlying issue has been resolved then the sleepwalking typically stops

When to see a doctor for sleepwalking? 

Most people will not need any medical treatment for sleepwalking. It is usually shortlived and occurs around the time of emotional distress, changes in routine, experiencing high stress, or extreme fatigue. Once the underlying issue has been resolved then the sleepwalking typically stops.

If sleepwalking is chronic, it will be advisable to seek medical advice. If you find yourself suffering extreme day time fatigue due to sleepwalking or having issues keeping your attention on your daytime activities, your doctor can look into any underlying medical issues that could be the cause. 

  • Your doctor will perform a medical examination 
  • You may enter a sleep study where you spend the night in a sleep lab, where your heart rate, movements, and brain waves will be monitored 
  • In rare circumstances, your doctor will recommend an EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure the electrical signals of your brain  

Sleepwalking Treatment

  • Exercise daily to destress
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night 
  • Wind down before bed, no devices in your bedroom
  • Speak to loved ones if you’re having a difficult time  
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Therapy 
  • Medication (antidepressants)  

Conclusion

If you or a loved one is experiencing sleepwalking, it ought to pass on its own. If it persists and you’re putting yourself in danger by trying to go outside or use the kitchen while sleepwalking, speak to your doctor to begin diagnostic tests.  

Hypnosis can be a very effective treatment for sleepwalking, as is talk therapies where you can express any personal and emotional difficulties, which can usually be the cause of sleepwalking.

Sleep deprivation can cause other unwelcome symptoms and illness, therefore, take action and ask for help. The good news is that sleepwalking can be treated, is usually a shortlived episode, and won’t have any longterm effects on your health.