Getting up and walking around while in a state of sleep is referred to as somnambulism or as we know it, sleepwalking. This undesirable activity usually occurs early in the night, most often 1-2 hours after falling asleep.
Sleepwalking is much more predominant in children than it is in adults. As children transition into their teen years, the sleepwalking usually phases out. If you are experiencing an occasional episode of sleepwalking, it can be normal. However, when the episodes become frequent, it may be time to consult a doctor.
Related Blog: How an Adjustable Bed can Help with Sleep Disorders
Here are a couple of points to consider when trying to determine whether a visit to a health care provider is in order:
1. Sleepwalking occurs often - this is referring to more than 1-2 times per week
2. Sleepwalking is leading to dangerous behavior or injury
3. Sleepwalking is causing sleep disruption to other family members or people residing in the house
4. Sleepwalking has begun for the first time as an adult
There are many factors that contribute to sleepwalking and form part of the reasoning behind the occurrence e.g. sleep deprivation, depression, stress, fever etc. Often the episodes are confused with an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep disordered breathing or restless leg syndrome, that is often not diagnosed.
If the sleep disorder has not been diagnosed as a serious health concern by the doctor and treated accordingly, there are a few things that you can do to prevent it from happening at home:
1. Speak with a doctor about changing existing medication
Current medication may be influencing the body negatively.
2. Anticipatory awakenings
Wake sleepwalkers up about 15 minutes before they normally sleepwalk and encourage them to stay awake for at least 5 minutes before falling asleep again. If you are personally suffering from these undesirable episodes, ask a loved one to assist you in this way.
3. Get the underlying health condition treated
As said before, often sleepwalking is just a bi-product of an already existing disorder.
Sleepwalking can be helped, whether at home or by a healthcare professional. Taking the right steps will in due time ensure blissful, untroubled beauty rest.