Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is a behavior disorder that results in walking or performing complex behaviors while asleep.  It is much more common in children, especially between the ages of three and seven, and occurs more often in children with obstructive sleep apnea.  Lack of sleep and genetics also can be causes of sleepwalking.

Symptoms of Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking usually takes place within the first few hours of falling asleep, during deep sleep.  Some common symptoms include:

  • Walking while asleep
  • Sleep talking
  • Inappropriate behavior (urinating in closets, wandering outside, etc.)
  • Bed-wetting (for children)
  • Little to no memory of the actual sleepwalking
  • Loud screaming
  • Violence (usually toward the person trying to wake the sleep walker)

Treatment of Sleepwalking

There is no specific treatment available for sleepwalking.  Getting more sleep can help.  Certain medications and/or alcohol can trigger sleepwalking for some.  You should check with your doctor or a sleep specialist to make sure there are no underlying causes.

If you have a family member who sleepwalks, create a sleepwalker-safe environment especially in the area around the bed by removing sharp or breakable objects.  Don't allow children to sleep in bunk beds.  Locking all doors and windows also will help keep your home sleepwalker-friendly.