Sleepwalking: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Sleepwalking Causes

for a Healthy Life

Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of individuals around the world. It occurs during the deepest stages of non-REM sleep, usually in the first few hours of the night, and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. The disorder is characterized by brief episodes of muted walking, in which the individual’s eyes are wide open but unresponsive to external stimuli.

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Causes

While the exact cause of sleepwalking is not entirely understood, it is believed to have both physical and psychological influences. Physically, sleepwalking can be attributed to sleep deprivation, irregular sleep patterns, and genetic predisposition. Physiological conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure can also be contributing factors. Psycho-emotionally, sleepwalking can be exacerbated by stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol, and drug use.

Symptoms

The primary symptom of sleepwalking is, of course, walking in a semi-conscious state; however, there can be additional signs associated with the disorder. These include calling out, erratic behavior, speaking gibberish, incoherent or disoriented behavior, and signs of restlessness.

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Treatments

Treatment for sleepwalking typically involves lifestyle and/or behavioral modifications, such as setting consistent sleep times, eliminating alcohol and eliminating caffeine. In some cases, sedatives might be prescribed or an individual might be advised to sleep in a reclining or sitting position. In rare cases, miscellaneous treatments such as biofeedback or hypnosis might be recommended.

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Health

Sleepwalking, while potentially serious and disruptive, is generally not considered a dangerous sleep disorder. However, when left untreated, it can interfere with day-to-day activities and increase the risk of injury. Therefore, individuals who experience sleepwalking should consult their doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions, and develop a treatment plan best suited to their needs, lifestyle, and circumstances. This will help to ensure that they can get the healthy and restful sleep they need.

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