Sleepwalking - Dream Health

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Monday 13 April 2015


Sleepwalking – Deep Stage/Lighter Stage/Awake Stage

Sleep walking is a type of a disorder which causes a person to get up and walk while they are asleep and usually tends to take place when the person is going from the deep stage of sleep to a lighter stage or in the awake stage. It occurs during a period of deep sleep which is at its height during the early part of the night and takes place within the first few hours on falling asleep.

Sleepwalking could start at any age though it is more common in children and most of them tend to grow out of in due course by the time they reach puberty but it could persist in adult life. The person who tends to sleepwalk is unable to respond during that time and also does not seem to remember the incident and in some cases may tend to talk without making much sense.

When a person sleepwalks, they could walk quietly around the place or they could run or make attempts to escape. Some may just sit up in bed and look around while the others getting out of bed may walk about, open cupboards, get dress or eat. In certain extreme cases, they are also known to walkout of the house carrying complex activities like driving a car.

Usually the sleepwalker’s eyes remain open with a glassy look as they move around the place and when quietened, they may slow down to respond or may not respond at all. Often, they are capable of manoeuvring around the object.

Unable to Recall Incident of Sleepwalking

Whenever they are put back in their bed without waking them from their sleep, they usually are unable to recall the incident. Sleepwalking could be the cause of it running in the family, or some of the factors that could trigger the disorder are: deprived sleep, stress, getting drunk, chaotic sleep schedule, habit of taking drugs like sedative-hypnotic which enables relaxation or sleep, stimulants and other antihistamines.

If the victim has a blood relative who sleepwalks, then they are ten times more likely to have the disorder than someone with no sleepwalker in the family. Some medical condition which have been linked to sleepwalking comprises of fever, heartburn, heart rhythm problems, night-time asthma, night-time seizures, restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, together with psychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks or dissociative states like multiple personality disorder.

To prevent these triggers some steps could be taken like getting enough sleep and engaging in activities which could be helpful in reducing the stress

Refrain from Shouting & Startling 

The most important thing to be done when a person is sleepwalking is to ensure that they are safe and one should refrain from shouting or startling them or waking them up. They should be gently guided back to bed and if they are undisturbed they tend to fall back to sleep.

Sometimes in the case of children gently waking them fully when they are coming out of the incident before letting them to go back to sleep helps in the prevention of another event taking place from the same deep sleep cycle.

There is no treatment for this disorder but sufficient sleep together with a regular and relaxed routine prior to bedtime could be beneficial to the person with Sleepwalking disorder.

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