Sleepwalking Causes Symptoms and Treatment



A person sitting on top of a grass covered field

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a condition in which a person moves around while still asleep. Sleepwalking happens when a person is in a state between being fully awake and being asleep. Sleepwalking occurs frequently in children, but most adults no longer sleepwalk. It is a parasomnia. Sleepwalking can be a symptom of a serious condition. Any sleepwalker who is also confused talks incoherently or wanders from home should seek medical help immediately.

The behavior of Sleepwalker:

A group of people in a store window

In most cases of sleepwalking, people appear to be awake. They may even converse with others and perform routine tasks such as using a bathroom or making a bed. However, they do not remember these events later because their brain is still asleep when these behaviors occur. Sleepwalkers remain in deep sleep throughout the episode, which can last from several minutes to several hours at a time. In some cases, people who are awakened during an episode continue sleeping but enter another phase of sleepwalking behavior until they awaken for good.

Sleepwalking associated with other diseases:

Sleepwalking is sometimes associated with other disorders, particularly breathing-related ones like sleep apnea. It can also be linked to mental health issues, epilepsy, migraines, narcolepsy, head injuries, infections of the central nervous system ( encephalitis, meningitis ), drug use (such as cocaine), high fever (especially in children), thyroid conditions ( hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism ) and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.

Sleepwalking can happen to anyone, but it’s more common in children, teens, and adults. Sleepwalking is most likely to occur in the first few hours of sleep when you are in a state between being awake and being asleep. Sleepwalking happens when your brain is too tired to regulate your natural sleep-wake cycle.

Some Factors that cause Sleepwalking:

The following are some factors that may contribute to sleep deprivation:

A medical condition that prevents people from sleeping normally.

Side effects of medicines

Napping during the day or working rotating shifts

Being very distracted or stressed

Symptoms of Sleepwalking:

Sleepwalking can happen during deep sleep, but it is most common during the lighter stages of sleep.

Sleepwalkers are usually found standing or walking around. They may not respond to their names or cries for help.

Sleepwalkers do not have any memory of performing actions while asleep.

Treatment Options:

There are simple steps you can do to help prevent yourself from sleepwalking:

Get plenty of restful sleep throughout the night – this means avoiding naps and long hours without sleeping

Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bedtime because they disrupt your normal sleep pattern

Relax before going to bed – try reading a book instead of watching TV

Exercise regularly during the day so that you are tired at night

Stick to a sleep-wake schedule even on weekends, holidays, and days off

Remove distractions in your bedroom so you can get restful sleep

If you have trouble sleeping at night try listening to soft music or taking a warm bath before bedtime.


If you suspect that someone close to you suffers from sleepwalking, talk with them about how it is affecting their life and their health. The sooner they can see a doctor the better. There are medications available as well as non-medication therapies which may reduce or stop your symptoms from occurring. In conclusion, one must get enough rest throughout the night. Therefore avoiding napping and long hours without sleeping, as well as substances such as alcohol and caffeine before bedtime is necessary to avoid sleepwalking. Relaxation before going to bed has also been found to help prevent sleepwalking.

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