Sleepwalking Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Here is one of any mysterious things about sleeping. We may consider this as sleep disorder. We have talked about many of such disorders, and now we shall occupy one of the conditions that we consider it obscure.
Through ancient history, people used to believe that sleepwalking is a condition that means the obsession of a demonic or supernatural power. But, now with the scientific and medical help, we could understand it completely. Let’s find out what is it and how it happens!
Sleepwalking is the condition where a person walks while he is asleep, and sometimes or in some cases, he might do some tasks and he is asleep. We may call sleepwalker anyone who walks or do some activities while he is not completely awake.
Normally, the condition occurs when the person is in his deep sleep period. Most of the time, it occurs during the first part of sleeping, which means just few hours after closing your eyes. Any person at any page may develop sleepwalking.
Yet, it occurs most of the time among children. Some studies suggested that about one in every five children would be a sleepwalker, at least once in their life. Children who develop it permanently would lose it when they rich the puberty period, but sometimes it may remain a trouble till their adulthood.
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What causes sleepwalking?
Until the moment, the exact direct cause of this disorder is still unidentified. Yet, it might look like it happens among family relatives more; genetic. This means that you have a higher chance to develop the disorder in case your family, or at least one of your family members (close member), has/ had this condition or another sleep condition known as night terrors (we have talked about it in a previous article). However, there are certain causes, factors, or triggers that experts found risk-worsening tips, which we are going to state here:
- Lack of sleep
- Misuse of alcohol (drinking too much or being a hangover most of the time); this concerns adults of course.
- Taking drugs as well
Some infections in children (most of the time fevers)
- Something that suddenly make you wake up from your deep sleep, such as a loud sudden noise
- Suddenly wake up for the nature call (toilet)
- Some negative emotions, such as stress or/ and anxiety
- Getting some specific types of medications (sedatives as an example)
- Some sleep disorders, such as RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome) and/ or sleep apnea, which make you wake up suddenly from your sleep
You have to work on improving any of these triggers in order to get rid of the condition, in case you have it. This is the first treatment you have to know. Yet, if you see that the condition is way worse than you expected, you have to see a doctor (we will mention below the cases when you should visit a doctor).
What happens to you while walking asleep?
The episodes of sleepwalking vary from a person to another. While some may just wake up and sit on their bad staring in something confusingly, others may get up and have a walk around the house.
In some cases, the sleepwalker may get up from bed agitated and go to dress up and prepare something to eat. Besides, some other serious episodes may involve very complex tasks, such as making something in the garden, or even drive for a tour around.
While sleepwalking, the sleepwalker have his eyes opened normally, but he might keep looking straightly and never pays attention to you if you stand in front of him.
Yet, they may know the places of familiar things and objects, such as the door, table, or anything else. Besides, if you try to talk to him, he perhaps will not answer you, and if he does, then he will make no sense with the words he says.
In the most of sleepwalking cases, the duration is no longer than ten minutes, only in very few cases it might last longer than that. Usually, the person goes back to bed and carry on sleeping after sleepwalking, or sometimes he wakes up.
Most of cases, the sleepwalker remembers nothing in morning, and if he does, it will be some very obscure memories. If you wake up the sleepwalker during walking asleep, he might look so confused and forgets what happened (he won’t have an idea about what was going on).
What should you do if you meet a sleepwalker during night?
The most important thing you should do, if you see a person who is sleepwalking, is to keep him safe and make sure he avoids anything dangerous or harmful until he wakes up.
Try to bring back to their bed softly and carefully not waking them up. It might be more useful if you wake up the person very gently after he goes back to sleep in bed; this might help to prevent another episode.
Do not make sudden loud noises that can wake them up, but try to keep them asleep till they finish the episode. Do not force on them physically a lot! Try to avoid that unless the person is in a dangerous situation (tends to cross a road.
What are the cases that require medical help?
Most of sleepwalking cases are normal, and they occur for several causes that may not be so serious to call a doctor. It might be something usual in the person’s behavior. Mostly, it has no association with a dangerous or serious condition. This is in case the episodes are so rare and occur very occasionally.
In other side, if the person tends to sleepwalk more frequent and like always, then you should consider talking to your healthcare provider. This may lead to self-harm or other’s harm; the sleepwalker may harm himself or people around him while he is sleepwalking.
Your healthcare provider would identify the seriousness of your condition, and if it requires serious medical advice, he might send you to a specialist in order to treat the condition medically. The sleepwalker may be surveyed in various tests and questioned a lot about details in life.
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How can you treat normal conditions of sleepwalking?
In fact, one exact treatment for the condition is not available currently, but several tips may help improve the situation.
The most important tip you should know about is to make your sleep healthy. We have talked about such tips in previous article. Yet, here are some steps you may must know about to improve your sleep:
- Try to get enough and satisfying hours of sleep
- Make a routine for your sleep
- Provide an appropriate environment for sleeping in your bedroom
- Try to make a healthy diet during night and before you go to bed; such as avoiding drinks (mostly those which contain caffeine), eat light meals (such as soup), and leave a while between eating and going to bed.
- Try to do something relaxing before you get in bed, such as having a lovely warm shower, or reading a good book.
- If you could identify and specify the time in which your child has his usual sleepwalking episode, then make sure you wake him up gently before that time and keep him awake for twenty to thirty minutes.
- There are no medications that are described for sleepwalking, but some may described for causes and symptoms that accompany this condition, such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
One important thing to add is that you should make your house safe during the night if you know that your child is a sleepwalker, so that you prevent him from any injury.