Though the media and movies often portray sleepwalking as humorous, this disorder can severely affect the sufferer’s ability to achieve restful sleep and may even be hazardous. Sleep studies show sleepwalking is a legitimate disorder that affects many people.
What Is Sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is a sleep disorder that causes the sufferer to walk or perform other activities such as talking, cooking, eating, or dressing while he or she is actually asleep. Sleepwalking episodes generally last from 10-30 minutes, after which the person will go back to sleep, sometimes in a completely different place. Although the sleepwalker may appear to be awake, he is in fact asleep and will not remember his actions the following day. The sleepwalker may also act confused, exhibit a blank expression, and say things that do not make sense.
What Causes Sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking most often occurs during stages of deep sleep while the sufferer is not dreaming. There are many different causes, including anxiety, fatigue, alcohol, certain medications, and mental or medical conditions that may contribute to sleepwalking. Sleepwalking can be common among family members and often occurs in children who are between the ages of five and 12. Visiting a sleep lab to undergo a sleep study is the best way to determine the cause of sleepwalking episodes.
How Is Sleepwalking Treated?
Although sleepwalking generally doesn’t necessitate treatment, sleepwalking behaviors can result in injuries, so it’s best to guide the sleepwalker back to bed during an episode. Keeping the home clean and free of obstacles can help prevent injury during sleepwalking, and some people choose to use mild sedatives to reduce the chances of sleepwalking episodes.
If you or a family member suffers from sleepwalking, visit Comfort Sleep to learn more about this condition today. Although sleepwalking is rarely dangerous, it’s important to understand your condition and how to avoid injury. Visit our website or call us at (732) 455-3030 today.