Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder. A person who is sleepwalking may walk around or do other complex behaviors while still asleep. It may be as simple as sitting up in bed or as complex as leaving the house and going for a drive.
It is not clear exactly what causes sleepwalking. Some people are more likely to sleepwalk. The sleepwalking may be triggered by:
Factors that may increase your risk of sleepwalking include:
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Along with walking during sleep, other symptoms can include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked about your:
You may be referred to a sleep specialist. You may need to have a sleep study done in a medical clinic.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
You will need to take steps to prevent injury during sleepwalking:
Some cases of sleepwalking can be treated with hypnosis.
You will be asked to keep track of what time of night the sleepwalking tends to occur. You then schedule a wake up just before that time. This may help stop the sleepwalking.
Medications that may help reduce sleepwalking include:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
National Sleep Foundation
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
The Better Sleep Council Canada
Guilleminault C, Kirisoglu C, et al. Adult chronic sleepwalking and its treatment based on polysomnography. Brain. 2005; 128:1062-1069.
Guilleminault C, Palombini L, et al. Sleepwalking and sleep terrors in prepubertal children: what triggers them?. Pediatrics. 2003;111:17-25.
Hafeez ZH, Kalinowski CM. Somnambulism induced by quetiapine: two case reports and a review of the literature. CNS Spectrums. 2007;12:910-912.
Pressman MR. Factors that predispose, prime and precipitate NREM parasomnias in adults: clinical and forensic implications. Sleep Med Rev. 2007:11:5-30
Sleepwalking. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115035/Sleepwalking. Updated May 13, 2014. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Sleepwalking. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/sleepwalking.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 21, 2016.
Sleepwalking. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/sleepwalking. Accessed June 21, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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