Sleepwalking — also known as somnambulism — is a sleep disorder that causes people to get up and walk while sleeping. Episodes of sleepwalking typically occur when a person is in the deep stages of sleep. The sleepwalker is unable to respond during the event and does not remember sleep walking.
In some cases, sleepwalking is associated with incoherent talking. Sleepwalking occurs most commonly in childhood but can last into adulthood. Genetics, medications, medical conditions and other sleep disorders are factors that may contribute to or cause sleepwalking.
In some cases a sleepwalker might leave the house, sit on the bed and stare into space, or even go out for a drive!
- Episodes of sleepwalking can range from quiet walking about the room to agitated running or attempts to “escape.”
- Typically, the eyes are open with a glassy, staring appearance as the person quietly roams the house.
- On questioning, responses are slow or absent.
- If the person is returned to bed without awakening, they usually do not remember the event.
Typically the underlying cause for sleepwalking is another sleep disorder (such as Sleep Apnea), and treating the underlying disorder addresses the sleepwalking disorder.