Think of yourself getting out of bed and strolling around your apartment. You must be awake, right? Well, not necessarily. If you’re a sleepwalker, this type of action may very well be performed while you are taking a snooze. Even more complex behaviors like preparing a meal or driving down the street are also not unheard of.
Facts About Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is a common sleep disorder for kids. Urination in a closet or inappropriate place is one common sign that a child is taking a walk on the sleepy side of things. However, children aren’t the only ones affected by this disorder, as it is also fairly prevalent in adults. In fact, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it affects 4% of adults.
Episodes of sleepwalking typically occur in a deep sleep stage that is a part of non-REM sleep. While occasional sleepwalking episodes are often considered quite harmless, if they occur more frequently or involve potential injury causing actions like driving, you should consult with a sleep doctor. Not to mention, that sleepwalking can also be linked to an underlying condition such as migraines, restless leg syndrome, or sleep apnea. In these cases, getting to the root of the problem is often how sleepwalking can be eliminated.
Steps to Take
Sleepwalking may not be preventable, especially if it runs in your family. However, certain self-care steps may prove beneficial in keeping these episodes at bay and keeping you protected from possible harm. These steps include:
- Get enough sleep, as insomnia or sleep deprivation can trigger sleepwalking.
- Try to avoid stress or conflict.
- Relax by performing relaxation exercises or by meditating.
- Don’t drink alcohol.
- Before you go to bed, avoid any visual or auditory stimuli.
- Prior to bedtime, make sure your doors and windows are locked.
- Put an alarm of some kind on your bedroom door and windows.
- Make sure your room and home are free from dangerous or sharp items that could cause harm. In addition, remove obstacles from the floor to avoid a fall.
It’s only natural to want your sleep to be as good and as safe as it can be. Most of the time, sleepwalking can effectively be stopped in its tracks with healthy sleep habits and/or various treatments that reflect your medical history and are tailored to your needs. If you or someone you know suffer from sleepwalking and would like to consult an experienced sleep doctor for help, please contact Dr. Shukla and the Asthma, Allergy, and Sleep Center of New York today.