Sleepwalking (the medical term ‘somnambulism’) is a condition experienced by children of preschool and primary school age, which most likely has a genetic origin and is manifested by unconscious sleepwalking. You will be surprised to learn that somnambulism is more common among children than you might think. Below is information about what causes sleep walking in children, a detailed list of the most common symptoms and causes that will help parents understand all aspects of sleep walking in kids and cope with the situation.
Sleep walking causes in children
About 15% of children are susceptible to this phenomenon, moreover, sleeping walking in children occurs much more often than in adults. A large percentage of children suffering are susceptible to it at the genetic level — in the family, most likely, one of the parents, grandparents, suffered from this sleep disorder. Common causes of sleep walking in children are:
- Full bladder.
- Anxiety and stress.
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS).
- The use of certain medications.
Contrary to popular belief, the child does not always walk around the room while sleeping.
There is an opinion that there is a predisposition to sleepwalking, which is possibly caused by the pathology of several genes. The symptoms may be:
- A child suddenly gets up in sleep, sits down on the bed, or starts to walk. It is most commonly seen during the first few hours of sleep.
- The child may appear dazed and confused, and their eyes may be open or closed.
- A child may be performing some difficult tasks, such as eating or dressing, while actually sleeping. Moreover, his movements are often slow and smooth.
- The child may speak, but speech is likely to be blurry and meaningless. This usually lasts for about 15 minutes and happens once a night.
How to understand what causes sleep walking in children? The mechanism that provokes sleepwalking is simple. The process of inhibition in the central nervous system during sleep does not affect those parts of the brain that coordinate the functions of movement. If inhibition still occurs, but to an incomplete, shallow degree, then the sleeper can simply sit up in bed or talk in a dream.
How to treat a child with sleepwalking
Episodes of sleep walking in toddlers in toddlers can be minimized if you follow the rules:
- good sleep — sufficient duration, daytime sleep for children;
- reduction of emotional and psychological stress;
- refusal of stimulating actions before bedtime — limit the viewing of active games and communication with the computer.
In most cases, sleepwalking goes away on its own and treatment is not an obligatory measure, if this phenomenon is not systematic and is not due to some special reasons. There must be a special reason for this, most often such a reason is the presence of a pronounced mental disorder or a deviation in the functioning of the nervous system. In these cases, it is necessary to seek advice from a specialist — a neurologist, psychologist, psychotherapist for further examination and clarification of the diagnosis.
- What causes sleepwalking in a child?
Insomnia is mostly a condition of genetic origin that appears in preschool children. This disorder is frequent among kids and the abolition of the causes can stimulate the problem vanishing. The simplest reason is the full bladder, if children drink a lot of water before sleeping or their metabolism works properly, they may receive somnambulism. More serious irritators are inflammation or infection inside the body, so the organism tries to cope with provocateurs and it leads to a restless state. The other source of sleepwalking is anxiety or even stress that overloads a kid’s psychics. It is also possible that sleep apnea developed in a child and interferes with breathing that stops the napping process. The application of particular medicine and enlarged tonsils also influence sleep longevity. Sleepwalking can be the result of noise in the bedroom or nearby no matter whether these are people’s voices or car movements. In fact, even light next to the place of dreaminess is the potential risk of getting somnambulism.
- Is sleepwalking a sign of mental illness?
Insomnia can show that the body has disorders related to the physiological state of a person. The mental disease becomes the cause of lunatic even more often than other illnesses. People with depression and anxiety belong here, first of all, stress damages their nervous system that leads to brain shutdowns. Nightmares also don’t build good sleep, their own development is connected with people’s lifestyle. Sleepwalking indicates alcohol and drug addiction because these products affect the ability of the body to stay in a calm condition. Patients who try to refuse the abuse of psychotropic substances can experience insomnia at some point. Traumatic injury that depicts the disorder of head integrity when the operation of the brain is temporarily worsened is a cause of walking and talking during having a rest. We can remember schizophrenia except for other diseases, people who suffer from it have paranoia and bright fantasy with hallucinations, therefore, this type of breaking impacts insomnia as well.
- What causes sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking irritators include both emotional and physical factors that influence one another. The material signs combine the features of the atmosphere in the room, the presence of noise inside the premises and outside, touching an asleep person. People can overfill their stomachs with food or beverages before napping that is no less problematic for the body. However, more dangerous causes are those that are constant, for example, stress or depression. Strong feelings of anxiety lead to overthinking and active brain work. Insomnia is also the consequence of entire inflammation because when the organism is busy with fighting the exciters it doesn’t perform other functions properly. The interesting fact is that sleepwalking is hereditary in some cases, therefore a child can just outgrow this condition. Consumption of sedatives may be the factor why somnambulism happens because they firstly slow down the brain operation and body settings get confused.
- When should you be worried about sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is a relatively safe process if it doesn’t contain aggressive movements like taking different things into hands, opening windows, going out because such actions aren’t secure for the health of a person. If insomnia happens too often, this is also the reason to attend a clinic for receiving help from a specialist. One more unpleasant particularity is sleep deprivation and lack of energy the next day. It sometimes happens when a patient begins to live with somnambulism in adulthood not experiencing a similar state being a child. People shouldn’t avoid treatment any discomfort referring to lack of time. Sleepwalking can turn from rare cases to stable events that make you think about its severity.