What Causes Sleepwalking? Who is more likely to suffer from sleepwalking? It may be a staple of laughter, but for those who have to live with sleepwalking, whether it’s a patient or a partner, it’s not really laughter.Studies published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics In 2015, we concluded that 29% of children between the ages of 2 and 13 encountered some episode of sleepwalking, with a peak reaching between the ages of 10 and 13. Stanford University School of Medicine It is estimated that 3.6% of adults in the United States, or more than 8 million, experience this strange phenomenon on a regular basis.
“The causes of sleepwalking can range from anxiety and stress to poor sleep hygiene and genetics, which are usually common in children but can be very problematic in adulthood. “Dr. Angus Nisbet, a neurologist and sleepwalker, told Live Science.
What is sleepwalking?
according to Sleep foundation, Sleepwalking, or to give its formal name, is “a behavioral disorder that occurs during deep sleep and results in walking or other complex behaviors while sleeping most of the time.”
Along with night terrors, bruxism, and sleepwalking, sleepwalking is a group of sleep disorders called “parasomnias” that usually occur during deep stages of sleep, or during so-called “slow wave” sleep. increase. One third of the night.
When an episode of sleepwalking occurs, the sleeping person may appear confused with his eyes open before getting out of bed and roaming the room or home. You may not be fully aware when you wake up, but you may take routine daytime activities such as opening windows, eating, dressing, and organizing your room. They may urinate even in unusual places. “In essence, sleepwalking is an incomplete awakening from deep sleep. Some of the brains, like the parts that enable your motor skills, are awake, but some of them are still soundly asleep. “Dr. Nisbet said.
In most cases, these episodes rarely last for more than a few minutes, but in 2018 Current biology The journal reported that severe cases of sleepwalking lasted for several hours.
What Causes Sleepwalking?
In many cases, sleepwalkers simply tend to suffer more genetically than others. NS Sleep foundation It is estimated that about 22% of children whose parents have no history of sleepwalking will be sleepwalkers. However, if one parent experiences it, the number goes up to 47%, and if both parents are also sleepwalkers, it goes up to 61%.
Sleepwalking is most common in children, but usually subsides by the time they reach their teens. If you are an adult and still prone to sleepwalking, especially if you are suffering from sleep deprivation or stress / anxiety, you may find that you are more likely and more likely to experience sleepwalking. Filling the bladder with certain medications, drinking alcohol, or before bed increases the likelihood of sleepwalking and the effects of head and brain injuries. Even changes in the sleeping environment, such as staying in a hotel, can trigger sleepwalking episodes. Samantha Thavasa, chief clinical physiologist at the London Bridge Sleep Center at London Bridge Hospital in the United Kingdom, told Live Science: “Anything that interferes with sleep can cause sleepwalking events.”
People with psychological problems are also prone to sleepwalking. “Patients with psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorders often have bad dreams and nightmares in the middle of the night, often leading to sleepwalking,” said Dr. Nisbet.
Is sleepwalking treatable?
If you are worried about sleepwalking, you should first seek the advice of your doctor. They may give you a physical examination that tries to eliminate the possibility of other sleep disorders and panic attacks. If you live with someone else, invite them to share their experience of your sleep behavior with your doctor, and be sure to mention if you also have a family history of sleepwalking. please. Night sleep studies, or polysomnography, that allow experts to record and monitor everything from blood oxygen levels during sleep to heart rate, eye movements, and brain waves, can also help determine the treatment needed.
As Dr. Angus Nisbet explained, improving “sleep hygiene” is also important. “You have to calm down for the last hour before going to bed,” he said. “So avoid the blue light and other stimuli on your device before you retire in the evening. It not only helps you fall asleep, but also helps you stay asleep.”
Treatment is essential when sleepwalker behavior not only disrupts one’s own life and the lives of one’s family, but also becomes dangerous.For example, in June 2010 New York Times We performed a special feature on a young designer called Tobias Wong, who was found dead at his home in New York City. He was clearly hanging his neck in the middle of the night. Wong has a history of sleepwalking extremes, and his partner was convinced that he had killed himself during such an episode.
A common technique for treating sleepwalking is the use of anticipatory awakening. This usually causes sleepwalkers to wake up 15 minutes before they start sleepwalking. You can then stay awake for a few minutes and then fall asleep again. This process is repeated several nights until the sleep pattern is finally broken. Hypnosis is also becoming more and more popular.
Experts also look at underlying disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome in adults and adjust for drugs that may be involved in inducing sleepwalking episodes. On the other hand, in severe cases, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may benefit from counseling and stress-relief / relaxation techniques, but cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has also been shown to help patients approach sleep disorders in other ways. I am. In extreme cases, short courses of sedatives may be prescribed to ensure uninterrupted sleep. “Generally speaking, sleepwalkers are treated in a non-pharmacological way, but if you use a drug to treat it, it will probably be a benzodiazepine. [which lowers brain activity] Or antidepressants for adults and melatonin sedation for children, “Nizbet added.
And what if you find someone with sleepwalking? Contrary to popular belief, waking up a sleepwalker is not dangerous. Especially because it takes a few minutes for them to get confused and completely restored. However, the best thing to do is to slowly get back to bed with a quiet voice and simple commands. Better than trying to reason with them.
What Causes Sleepwalking? | Live Science
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