While there are several sleep disorders, the most famous of them is Somnambulism. It sounds complicated but almost everyone knows it by the common name, Sleepwalking. Made popular by several movies, TV shows and even Shakespearean plays, sleepwalking is easily the most popular sleep disorder. Yet it is one of the least understood.
Simply defined, Sleepwalking is a behavioural disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviours while asleep. More prevalent among children, especially the ones between the ages three and seven, it is associated with other disorders like Sleep Apnea (interruption of breathing during sleep) and Sleep Terrors.
While the exact causes are unknown, it is believed that genetics play a large part and the condition might be hereditary. Other common triggers are sleep deprivation, sedative agents like alcohol and certain medications.
Sleepwalkers often have no memory of the incident and the episodes last anywhere between 30 seconds to 30 minutes. While the condition has long been a source of inspiration for writers looking to create comedy, the condition can be quite serious if the sufferers engage in behaviours like driving. Even though there is a quite popular myth that says waking a sleepwalker is harmful, there is no truth to this and waking the sufferer is quite important.
And since there is no established form of treatment, care from the people around the sleepwalker is quite important. Certain types of therapies are quite effective though. Since sleep deprivation can lead to sleepwalking sometimes getting enough sleep might just be enough. In other cases, following good sleeping practices and keeping away from sedatives like alcohol helps. If nothing else works, hypnosis seems to be last resort which is known to work more often than not.
If you ever encounter a sleepwalker, remember that it is no laughing matter. At the same time, it can be controlled with something as simple as a good night’s sleep. So, put all your worries away and get a restful sleep every night.