Sleepwalking Facts

Sleepwalking occurs at any age although it is most common in children.

Sleepwalking is categorized as a parasomnia in the medical literature and is usually harmless to the individual and others, but every now and then something terrible happens, or could have happened, as detailed in this story about a young boy leaving his house in the middle of the night

  (otherwise known as Somnambulism)

What is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking consists of strange and often confusing behavior that starts during the deeper part of the sleep cycle.
What happens (or can happen) during a Sleepwalking episode?
While children are most often susceptible to sleepwalking it can and does strike a small percentage of adults.  In its most extreme form, sleepwalking episodes will occur every night and will often result in physical injury to the individual.

Usually the sleepwalker will move around inside their own home and eventually find their way back to bed with no harm to themselves or anyone else.  

If your sleepwalking child is leaving the home or attempting to leave the home while sleepwalking it is time to get advice from an expert.

Does a sleepwalker remember anything?

The sleepwalking child will rarely remember anything after a sleepwalking episode and will be very difficult to awaken during the episode.  Often times they will be muttering to themselves in an incomprehensible way.

Sleepwalking episodes may consist of simply sitting up in bed, walking around the room and going back to bed, but parents of sleepwalking children justifiably become concerned when the episodes turn into night terrors where the child screams uncontrollably and may often run and injure themselves.

It is important not to tease a child about their sleepwalking as they often are embarrassed or feel anxious and confused about their behavior especially if it is reported to them that they urinated in an inappropriate location or were using obscene language while sleepwalking.

Medical Investigation

Medical investigation has revealed that up to 20% of the population  is prone to sleepwalk at some point in their life.  It is most common in children up to 14 years old, especially boys and may have a genetic tendency.

If a child begins sleepwalking at an early age it will usually disappear by the time they reach 14 years old.  If the behavior is noticed after 9 years old then the sleepwalking will often carry into adulthood. The largest percentage of sleepwalking children experience mild symptoms and parents can be reassured that they will outgrow the symptoms over time.

However if you are a parent of a sleepwalking child with severe sleepwalking symptoms please investigate the sleepwalking prevention resources on this site for more information on how to deal with and cure this behavior.

Sleepwalking Prevention

If you or someone you know has a sleepwalking problem it is recommended that you investigate this resource for help in how to prevent sleepwalking.