The way that sleepwalking is portrayed in television and the big screen is a very prejudiced approach to what people often associate with sleepwalkers. They are generally left for people with a disturbed mental awareness and worse is often shown with the perpetual straight arms parallel to the ground (imitating a zombie!)
These representations are almost always very wrong and create a false sense of the root of the issue. Despite how and what is shown about people with the sleep disorder, it isn’t as reckless and comic in real life. It has serious, deep rooted reasons to manifest in people, both young and old.
There are many other activities associated with sleepwalking (somnambulism) that are overlooked and kept at bay. Here you will read about the reasons and preventive measures of sleepwalking.
Is Sleepwalking Fairly Common?
As surprising as it may seem, children are more susceptible to walking in their sleep than their adult counterparts. A study found that about 29% of children experience sleepwalking from late infancy to early teens. Their sleepwalking peaked generally at the age of 10-13. It can be seen as a part of their overall mental development. Kids with a family history of sleepwalking are at a higher chance of sleepwalking.
There aren’t many adults who sleepwalk, and who do it is seen as a reason for an underlying condition. Only about 4% of adults can be seen to struggle with the condition. A study conducted to see how methodical these episodes are, concluded that 5% of children and 1.5% of adults experienced an episode in the last 12 months since the study took place.
Is Sleepwalking Dangerous?
As the name suggests, sleepwalking causes people to walk in their sleep, but that’s not all. They can have almost fully functional bodily movements making them go out for nighttime strolls outside, can go to the kitchen for a snack and some are even reported to have gone for a drive! A study suggested that sleepwalking is the leading cause of sleep-related injuries.
Mishandling of sharp objects, knocking themselves out by walking into a door / wall can be dangerous. Driving specially can be life threateningly fatal to the sleepwalker and people unaware about the same on the road.
While being escorted back to the bed, sleepwalkers can resort to violent outbreaks that can again be seen as a danger to both the parties. Actions during an episode of sleepwalking can also lead to a lot of embarrassing situations for a lot of people.
For example, a person may feel ashamed about aggressive outbursts, sexually explicit behavior, or even urinating in public or the wrong place.
Why Do People Sleepwalk?
Anyone who sleepwalks has their own unique pattern of what they and how they come about it. Apart from their indigenous eccentricities and behaviors, there is one thing that ties all sleepwalkers. Sleep experts believe that sleepwalking usually occurs during non-REM (NREM) sleep, usually in stage III of the sleep cycle. This is also known as deep sleep and the person gets partially woken up. They aren’t fully aware or conscious about their doings, but enough to trigger physical activity while mostly remaining asleep.
Major Reasons for Sleepwalking Include
- Genetics and family history – Studies show a clear pattern in which certain people are genetically predisposed to sleepwalking and other NREM parasomnias.
- Sleep deprivation – A lack of sleep has been correlated with an elevated risk of sleepwalking, which may be due to more time spent in deep sleep after a period of sleep deprivation.
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) – RLS is a type of sleep disorder that causes a powerful urge to move the limbs, especially the legs, when lying down. It causes nighttime arousals from which a person may enter into a sleepwalking episode.
- Stress – Various types of stress can affect sleep, including causing more fragmented or disrupted sleep that can increase the propensity for sleepwalking. Stress can be physical, such as from pain, or emotional.
How Can Sleepwalking Be Controlled?
Treating sleepwalking depends a lot on the age of the patient, how frequent and dangerous are the episodes. In many cases, sleepwalking doesn’t require any active treatment as these episodes are infrequent and don’t cause much disruption in routine or pose little to no threat to anyone. Episodes often get less frequent with age, so sleepwalking is resolved on its own with any specific therapy.
Delta-8 has been touted to bring about a good and sound sleep. That can be looked into and tried, you can get observer’s delta-8 tinctures online for a good night sleep.
General precautions and preventive measures can still be taken
- Get more quality sleep.
- Build a sleep-friendly bedtime routine
- Limit caffeine
- Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool
- Improve Sleep Hygiene