The phenomenon of sleepwalking is a combination of sleep and wakefulness, classified as a sleep disorder. In a state of low consciousness, sleepwalking may occur, often involving activities usually performed during the day. Activities can be benign but often venture into hazardous or peculiar, and as a result, sleepwalking requires monitoring and helps to be dealt with.
One issue with sleepwalking is that due to the complex nature of the activity, research and study into the phenomenon is often disputed, refuted or inconclusive. This means that there is a lack of concrete information regarding the disorder, and as a result, diagnoses and treatments can be hard to come by.
Symptoms of Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking is characterised by partial arousal during NREM sleep, intensive dreaming, motor behaviour associated with dreams that can be simple or complicated, impaired judgement and problem-solving abilities. In their sleepwalking state, people often talk, although it doesn’t always make sense. Sleepwalkers may have open eyes but often exhibit glassy stares or blank expressions; they exhibit disorientation, may act confused, and upon waking, may not understand why or how they got out of bed or conducted the activities they did. Disorientation tends to fade quickly.
Sleepwalkers often gain injuries as a result of their activities. Minor cuts and bruises are expected; however, occasionally, sleepwalkers do sustain severe or life-changing injuries due to their actions. This is another reason that the act of sleepwalking requires dealing with.
What Causes Sleepwalking?
Definite causes for sleepwalking remain unknown. Many hypotheses are thrown about, but there is no actual or conclusive answer as yet. These hypotheses include issues with the CNS, sleep deprivation, fever, excessive tiredness and potentially genetics. Some studies have found that children with parents who sleepwalk are more likely to have sleepwalked.
Treatment for Sleepwalking
There is no evidence to suggest that psychological or pharmacological intervention is effective in treating sleepwalkers. Despite this, a wide range of such treatments is available. These include hypnotism, psychoanalysis, scheduled waking, relaxation training, different types of therapy. Unlike other sleep disorders, sleepwalking is not commonly associated with chronic behavioural or emotional problems.
One effective measure for sleepwalkers is safety planning. This means creating measures that ensure that nothing terrible occurs should sleepwalking occur. This can include door alarms, stairgates or first-floor bedrooms, removing easily accessible weapons, changing arrangements for others who may be affected.
Much like other treatments, there is a lack of evidence linking the effects of guided meditation to the treatment of sleepwalking. Despite this, guided meditation has been linked to effectively treating issues regarding sleep through relaxation and improved cognitive processes. If sleep disturbances are getting to you, it may be time to try a guided meditation to control and order the mind and process thoughts effectively before allowing it to affect your sleep. This is one of many benefits of guided meditation; others include better overall physical health, improved mental health, a greater leaning towards positivity and a more remarkable ability to handle hardship—all of this aids in getting better and less disturbed sleep.