A youngster who engages in sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, wakes up in the middle of the night and walks or engages in other activities. In most cases, the youngster has no memory of getting up or participating in the activities. In the initial half of the night, typically within an hour or two of falling asleep, sleepwalking tends to happen. The likelihood of other sleep disorders and other illnesses being mistaken for or coexisting with sleepwalking is higher in adulthood.
How common the sleepwalking disorder is?
Sleepwalking in and of itself is fairly common, especially in youngsters, but sleepwalking experiences in adults are also not uncommon. About 20% of children between the ages of 4 and 8 will initially encounter bouts of sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is more common in boys than in girls among school-aged youngsters. Bedwetting and childhood sleepwalking are frequently associated. Compared to children, adults are less likely to experience sleepwalking, but about 2.5% of adults do.
Symptoms of sleepwalking:
One to two hours after falling asleep is the typical time that sleepwalking happens. It’s unlikely to happen while you’re napping. An episode of sleepwalking can happen infrequently or frequently, and it typically lasts a few minutes but can last longer.
When someone is sleepwalking, they may:
- Get out of bed and go for a walk.
- Open one’s eyes and sit up in bed.
- Have watery eyes and a glazed look.
- Do not respond to or interact with others.
- Be challenging to awaken during an episode
- Be temporarily dazed or confused after being awakened
- Not recall the episode in the morning
- Experience difficulties functioning during the day as a result of sleep disruption
- Experience sleep terrors in addition to sleepwalking
Causes of sleepwalking:
The development of the central nervous system has not caught up with the rest of the body and results in abnormal sleep behaviors. When the central nervous system matures, then the patient will typically outgrow the sleepwalking disorder. Sleep walking can be brought on by:
- Hereditary (the condition may run in families).
- Extreme sleep deprivation or exhaustion.
- Sleep problems include sleep apnea, which causes small pauses in a child’s breathing pattern as they sleep, can cause interrupted or ineffective sleep.
- Fever or illness.
- Some drugs, including sleeping aids.
- Anxiety and stress.
- Putting a full bladder to bed.
- Touches or noises
- Alterations to the sleep environment or the sleeping environment (example: a hotel).
- Head trauma
Risk factors of sleepwalking disorder:
An individual’s likelihood of acquiring a sleep problem, especially insomnia, is significantly influenced by their mental health. Numerous mental health problems have been linked to sleep deprivation and low quality sleep. These consist of impatience, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and problems with impulse control. Depression may result from the stigma attached to sleep disorders like narcolepsy.
How to overcome the sleepwalking disorder?
- Safe and Calm Environment
- Take the sleepwalker gently to bed
- Create a consistent, unwinding habit before going to bed
- Give stress a proper home
- Get enough rest
Safe and Calm Environment:
Consider these safety measures if sleepwalking has caused or could cause injuries: Before going to bed, lock all outside doors and windows. Interior doors may even be locked, or they could have bells or alarms installed. Place a gate to block stairways or doorways, and move electrical cords and other trip risks to a safer location. Sleep on the ground floor.
Take the sleepwalker gently to bed
You don’t have to wake the person up. Even though being woken is not harmful to the person, it can be upsetting if the person starts to feel confused, bewildered, and even agitated.
Create a consistent, unwinding habit before going to bed
Before going to bed, engage in peaceful activities like reading a book, doing a puzzle, or taking a warm bath. Also helpful may be relaxing techniques like meditation. Make the bedroom peaceful and comfy so you can sleep.
Put stress in its place
Identify the issues that cause stress and ways to handle the stress. Talk about what’s bothering you. Or if your child sleepwalks and seems anxious or stressed, talk with him or her about any concerns. A mental health professional can help.
Get enough rest
Sleepwalking can be exacerbated by exhaustion. Try an earlier bedtime, a more consistent sleep routine, or a quick nap, especially if you have young children, if you are sleep deprived. Avoid if at all possible any noises or other stimuli that might wake you up.