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Sleepwalking

 

Sleepwalking or somnambulism is a sleep disorder causing a person to walk or do other physical activities while still sleeping.

Causes

Causes for sleepwalking are not clear but possibilities include:

  • Genetics or family history
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Certain medications
  • Certain medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux, obstructive sleep apnea, periodic leg movements, or seizures

Symptoms

  • Open eyes with a glassy stare
  • Incomprehensible speech
  • Walking, getting dressed or other physical activities
  • Disorientation or confusion on being woken up during an episode
  • No memory of the episode on waking up

Treatment

Usually, treatment is not required. In case of frequent and injurious episodes treatment may include:

  • Correcting underlying medical condition
  • Medication like benzodiazepines or tranquilizers

Prevention

There is no specific prevention for sleepwalking but risk can be reduced by:

 

    • Avoiding stimulants like alcohol and caffeine before sleep time
    • Avoiding stress
    • Avoiding sleep deprivation