Sleepwalking: Causes and Symptoms

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Sleepwalking: Causes and Symptoms

Find out why sleepwalking happens and what you can do about it.

Sleepwalking, or somnambulism is a sleep disorder that is most common amongst children and causes a child or adult to walk and move around while sleeping. This problem most often occurs when a person is transitioning from deep sleep to light sleep or from deep sleep to waking. If you or your child is dealing with sleepwalking, our Columbia, SC, sleep doctor Dr. Richard Bogan can certainly help.

What are the symptoms associated with sleepwalking?

It’s most typical for kids and adults to experience symptoms of sleepwalking within 1-2 hours after falling asleep. Sleepwalking episodes may be a regular occurrence or may only happen once in a while. A person who sleepwalks may,

  • Get up and walk around
  • Sit up in bed with their eyes open
  • Not respond to others
  • Be difficult to wake up
  • Seem disoriented
  • Not remember sleepwalking the next day
  • Experience daytime fatigue the day after a sleepwalking episode
  • Also have sleep terrors

It’s sometimes possible for people during sleepwalking episodes to eat, get dressed, drive a car, become violent or engage in sexual behavior. This is more common in adults.

What causes sleepwalking?

There are many factors that could play a role in whether someone sleepwalks, particularly genetics. Other factors include,

  • Medical conditions such as nighttime asthma and GERD
  • Fever
  • Stress
  • Certain drugs (e.g. sedatives; tranquilizers)
  • Pregnancy
  • Arrhythmias
  • Psychiatric disorders (e.g. PTSD; panic attacks)

When should I see a doctor?

If these sleepwalking episodes are a rare occurrence then you probably won’t need to see a sleep specialist; however, it’s probably time to turn to our Columbia, SC, sleep team if sleepwalking is,

  • Occurring 1-2 times a week
  • Leading to dangerous or injurious behaviors
  • Resulting in extreme daytime fatigue or issues functioning throughout the day
  • Only occurring now as an adult
  • Continues into adolescence (for children)

If you are concerned about your child’s sleepwalking habits, then it’s the perfect time to turn to our Columbia, SC, sleep doctor Dr. Bogan for answers. To schedule a consultation with our sleep team, call Bogan Sleep Consultants at (803) 251-3093.

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