Sleepwalking is often treated as a joke in TV shows and movies, but it's no laughing matter. Walking in your sleep can result in serious injuries and even death. Our Columbia, SC, sleep doctor, Dr. Richard Bogan of Bogan Sleep Consultants, discusses sleepwalking and explains what you can do to prevent it.
What causes sleepwalking?
It's not always possible to determine the cause of sleepwalking, but you may more likely to develop the disorder if:
- You have another sleep disorder. Other disorders, such as sleep apnea, may increase your risk of sleepwalking. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes hundreds of short breathing pauses while you sleep.
- You're feeling a little stressed. You may be more likely to wander if you're feeling stressed or anxious.
- You have an illness or chronic condition. A fever, asthma, seizures or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) might increase the likelihood of sleepwalking.
- You took a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, stimulants or antihistamines can trigger sleepwalking. Even medications intended to help you sleep can trigger sleepwalking.
- You had too much to drink. Overindulging in alcohol may be responsible for the problem.
- You have poor sleep habits. Insomnia, sleep deprivation or an inadequate sleep schedule may contribute to sleepwalking.
How is sleepwalking treated?
Treating GERD or other conditions or making small changes to your normal routine may stop sleepwalking. If your symptoms tend to occur when you're stressed or haven't been sleeping well, relaxation techniques and a commitment to an improved sleep schedule can help. If you continue to walk in your sleep, you may benefit from a visit to our Columbia office.
If a sleep study reveals an underlying sleep disorder, we can offer treatments to ease your symptoms. For example, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be recommended if you have sleep apnea. The machine produces a steady stream of air that keeps your airways open when you sleep, preventing sleep apnea.
Low doses of antidepressants may be helpful when there isn't an obvious cause for your sleepwalking and lifestyle modifications aren't helpful.
Would you like to find a way to finally put an end to your sleepwalking? Call our Columbia, SC, sleep doctor, Dr. Bogan of Bogan Sleep Consultants, at (803) 251-3093 to schedule an appointment.