Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder. A person who is sleepwalking may walk around or do other complex behaviors while still technically asleep. It may be as simple as sitting up in bed or as complex as leaving the house and going for a drive.
It is not clear exactly what causes sleepwalking. Some people are more susceptible to sleepwalking. The sleepwalking may be triggered by:
Factors that may increase your risk of sleepwalking include:
Along with walking during sleep, other symptoms can include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked about your:
Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist. You may need to have a sleep study done in a medical clinic.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
Strategies to Prevent Injury
Your doctor will help you prevent injury during sleepwalking by recommending that you:
Some cases of sleepwalking can be treated with hypnosis.
Your doctor will ask you to keep track of what time of night the sleepwalking tends to occur. You then schedule a wake up just before the sleepwalking tends to occur. This may help stop the sleepwalking.
These medications may be helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking:
To help reduce the chances of sleepwalking, take the following steps:
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Sleep Foundation
About Kids Health
Better Sleep Council Canada
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Last reviewed October 2012 by Brian Randall, MD