Causes and prevention of sleepwalking

  • Jan 27 , 2017

Sleepwalking occurs when you get up from bed and walk around even though you are still asleep. At other times, individuals may bolt from the bed and walk or run away. They may be frantic to escape from a threat that they dreamed or imagined. One might talk or shout as they are walking. Their eyes are usually open and have a confused look. They might begin doing routine daily actions that are not normally done at night. More often, it involves actions that are crude, strange, or in the wrong place. This might include urinating in a trash can, moving furniture around, or climbing out of a window. It can also result in hostile and violent behavior.

It can be very hard to wake a sleepwalker up. When you do wake up, you can be very confused. This is because you normally have no memory of the event. Some people sometimes recall bits and pieces of what took place.

Causes can be:

  • Many things can lead to sleepwalking
  • It can run in the family
  • Identical twins are more likely to sleepwalk
  • If you have a parent, brother, or sister who sleepwalks, you're 10 times more likely to do so

You might also have the disorder if you’re:

  • Sleep deprived
  • On a disturbed sleep schedule
  • Stressed
  • Drunk

Taking drugs such as sedative-hypnotics (which promote relaxation or sleep), neuroleptics (used to treat psychosis), stimulants (which boost activity), and antihistamines (used to treat symptoms of allergy).

A person who has a sleepwalking disorder can take the following measures:

  • Get an adequate sleep.
  • Meditate or do relaxation exercises.
  • Avoid any kind of stimuli (auditory or visual) prior to bedtime.
  • Keep a safe sleeping environment, free of harmful or sharp objects.
  • Sleep in a bedroom on the ground floor if possible to prevent falls and avoid bunk beds.
  • Lock the doors and windows.
  • Remove obstacles in the room, tripping over toys or objects is a potential hazard.
  • Cover glass windows with heavy drapes.
  • Place an alarm or bell on the bedroom door and if necessary on any windows.