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.