Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee

Disorders

Sleepwalking

Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking involves frequent movement, often including getting out of bed and walking, during sleep. The sleepwalking patient may also engage in sleeptalking as part of these episodes. This phenomenon usually occurs during deep (stage 3) sleep. Sleepwalking can be dangerous, and is often disruptive to the bed partner’s sleep. Sleepwalking can often be confused with, or can occur as part of, another sleep disorder (e.g., REM behavior disorder). Patients with sleeptalking are usually hard to arouse from sleep, and usually have no recollection of these events. Sleepwalking usually occurs more during the first half of the night, since deep sleep occupies a higher percentage of that portion of the sleep phase. Sleepwalking occurs more frequently in children, and in some cases carries over into adulthood. Sleepwalking can be exacerbated by other sleep disorders (such as OSA), sleep deprivation, substance use/medications, or stress. It is treated in some cases using medication. Behavioral interventions such as “alarming” techniques to arouse the patient from sleep during these episodes are also used to ensure safety.
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Symptoms