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 the performance of activities which are usually performed during the day. Activities can be benign, but often venture into hazardous or peculiar and as a result sleepwalking is something which 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.
Which of our treatments can best help you address sleepwalking?
- Guided Meditation
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 or perplexed 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 because of their activities. Minor cuts and bruises are common, however occasionally sleepwalkers have more serious accidents. Addressing sleepwalking is a preventative step to reduce the risk of you hurting yourself.
What Causes Sleepwalking?
The causes for sleepwalking remain unknown. Many hypotheses are thrown about, but there is no definitive or conclusive answer. 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 are available. These include hypnotism, psychoanalysis, scheduled waking, relaxation training, different types of therapy. Unlike other sleep disorders, sleepwalking is not commonly associated with regular behavioural or emotional problems.
One effective measure for sleepwalkers is safety planning. This means creating measures which ensure that nothing bad 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.