Understanding And Conquering A Sleep Walking Disorder

August 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Sleep Walking

Sleep walking disorder is most common in preteen youngsters and happens often enough to be a common concern among parents. If you find your child wandering around in the dark rest assured it isn’t unusual and you’re not alone in your worries. Fortunately most children outgrow Sleep walking disorder by their teens.

What Is Sleep Walking Disorder?

In spite of its name sleep walking, also called somnambulism, does not just involve walking. Those who suffer from sleep walking disorder can often be found simply sitting up in bed, or worst case scenarios walking around stairways, or outside. Those affected by sleep walking disorder do not usually realize they are doing it and will often react with surprise when you tell them of their nightly wanderings. There have even been reports of people sitting up and answering questions in their sleep, laying back down, and having no recollection of the conversation when awake.

While superstition suggests it is bad to wake up a sleep walker in reality it has no effect on them other than the fact that they are often disoriented for a few minutes. Because this condition often occurs in the deepest stages of the sleep cycle then can be very difficult to wake up while sleep walking.

What Causes Sleep Walking?

There are many things that can trigger sleep walking disorder. They include general lack of sleep, sleep that gets interrupted frequently, illness, fever, some medications, general stress. In spite of many beliefs there is no connection between sleep walking and mental illness. It is a very normal response to any of the above conditions. There is no reason to worry about a sleep walker physically or mentally but great care should be taken to not allow them to harm themselves during a bout of sleep walking. If someone you live with experiences repeated sleep walking events it is a good idea to guard stairways with gates, and be sure to make doors to the outside inaccessible.

How To Help A Sleep Walker

There are several things you can do to make a sleep walker more relaxed. There is no real cure for sleep walking disorder but following the list below can lessen sleep walking events:

Avoid all caffeine based drinks including hot chocolate and sodas several hours before bedtime.
Set regular bed and naptime schedules that are appropriate for the sleep walker’s age group.
Stop all liquids several hours before bedtime.
Provide a quiet and peaceful room for your sleep walker.

The best method for dealing with a sleep walker when you find them wandering about is to lead them back to bed and tuck them in. They will usually fall right back to sleep and you can rest assured it is a temporary condition.

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