Sleepwalking-it is one of the sleep disorder that is associated with walking or doing chores when a person is actually asleep.   Sleepwalking may seem like a hilarious thing to do. It may even be a fact that people don’t believe until they experience it or witness a sleepwalker. Sleepwalking is not a myth. It is very much a real real sleep problem. The sleepwalker may not remember any of it in the morning. The person may talk gibberish or may not respond to any questions posed his/her way.

Cases of sleepwalking is generally higher in children.  Did you know that 10% to 30% of children have had at least one episode of sleepwalking!  These numbers don’t lie. This doesn’t mean that adults don’t sleepwalk. Sleepwalkers roam around the house with their eyes open Yea, you heard that right! But, they are not actually awake or aware of what they are up to at that hour in the night. Another interesting fact is that sleepwalkers know to open locks and even operate appliances. In some cases, adult sleepwalkers end up waking in a different place from the one they slept at. They might not be able to identify that they suffer from this sleeping disorder as  they might attribute it to extreme lethargy or even to the drink they had had that made them a bit tipsy. They can unknowingly put themselves and the rest of the people residing under the same roof in danger, in case they accidentally start a fire.

Sleepwalkers can do the most funny things like peeing in a closet and even some very dangerous antics like leaping off a ledge, walking across the road. They can even scare the living daylights out of you by screaming in the middle of the night. This is associated with night terrors. Sleep terrors usually begin in children around the ages of 3 and before 12 years. It usually stop by adolescence. 

What causes sleepwalking?

Lets look into some of the reasons of sleepwalking:

  • Sleepwalking is more prominent in families that have a history of sleepwalking.
  • Stress or anxiety can cause sleepwalking and even sleep terrors.
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Some drugs can cause sleepwalking. These could even be hypnotics or antihistamines or even high energy drinks.
  • People with heart problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Post traumatic stress(PTSD)

How can you deal with sleepwalking?

  • Sleepwalking is often associated with sleep deprivation, anxiety or stress. 
  • Getting adequate sleep is one place to start working on. Read more on how you can sleep better.
  • Take up meditation measures to  help deal with stress.
  • If you think you are suffering from PTSD, talk to a professional and resolve your most worrisome issues.
  • Avoid caffeine or any things that can cause stimulation and prevent you from sleeping well.
  • If you feel any prescribed medications are causing sleepwalking issues, speak with your medical practitioner as soon as possible to get a different prescription.

Facts about sleepwalking and sleep terrors

  • Did you know that sleepwalkers feel no pain even when they are injured. During their sleepwalking episodes they are oblivious to any impending danger, putting themselves and others at risk.
  • Did you know that even while we are asleep, our brain isn’t! The neurons responsible for direction sense in our brain is still working when we catch some Zzz’s. Or in other words, the navigation system in our brain never switches off. This is why sleepwalkers are able to navigate seamlessly with their glassy eyed stare even when they are not aware of what is happening.
  • Children who are bullied are more likely to suffer from sleep walking, night terrors or nightmares by the time they hit pre-teen years. 
  • People who continue sleepwalking into adulthood may have genetic predisposition to sleepwalking, according to the American Academy of Neurology.
  • According to a research conducted by University of Warwick children who suffer from frequent night terrors are at an increased risk of psychotic experiences once they reach adolescence. In the case of children aged between two and nine years old, who had frequent night terror experiences were about 1.5 times at increased risk of developing psychotic experiences later on in life.
  • Research conducted by American Academy of Sleep Medicine reveal that symptoms of depression and insomnia are closely related to frequent nightmares.