Walking in sleep is a type of parasomnia, a behavior disorder noted during sleep. Most often detected in children aged 3–8 years. Sleepwalking is inherited and usually resolves spontaneously during adolescence. It is a rather rare disease; it affects about 3% of people. If you regularly walk at night, you should see your doctor, as this behavior may indicate epilepsy.
Walking in sleep causes
Studies indicate that the cause of walking in sleep in most cases is the dissociation of the cortical-subcortical connections. Quite often, sleepwalking is accompanied by obsessive-compulsive disorder, enuresis, and apnea syndrome, while nightmares and sleepwalking often develop against the background of restless legs syndrome.
So why do people walk in their sleep? An increase of the phenomenon is observed after psycho emotional stress and sleep disturbance, which confirms the fact that sleepwalking is a symptom of neurosis. This pathology is observed in persons suffering from:
- seizures of epilepsy;
- senile dementia;
- some types of neuroses and parkinsonism.
In rare cases, sleepwalking in adults can develop while taking hypnotics or antipsychotics.
During the walking in sleep, a person may look with an unseeing gaze, sometimes even talk or move, while his movements look awkward or unnatural. A person can turn on or off the light, perform simple actions, cook, eat, dress, and, if at this moment he sees a nightmare, then even scream. At the moment of sleep walking in adults, a person is quite difficult to wake up.
After waking up, a person does not have memories of night adventures. Attacks can be observed rarely or systematically and even recur several times a night for several nights. Exacerbation of the violation is observed in those moments when behavior changes, a person has undergone a pronounced emotional shock, or his sleep pattern is disturbed.
When a diagnosis is made, the patient is examined and his mental state is examined. In especially difficult cases, the patient has prescribed polysomnography. The study is carried out in a specialized laboratory, while the patient is sleeping, special sensors record his:
- respiratory rate;
- blood pressure;
- eye movement;
- blood oxygen saturation;
- muscle contractions;
- brain waves;
- blood oxygen levels.
Based on the data obtained, a specialist can diagnose sleep walking in adults.
Why do people walk in sleep and how to treat it? With this pathology, patients do not always need treatment. During an attack of sleepwalking, you should not wake a person, it is much wiser to gently lead him back to bed. In adults, at the moment of awakening, an attack of aggression may occur aimed at the one who woke him up.
Sleeping walking in adults treatment includes hypnosis sessions and medication related to benzodiazepines or antidepressants. In the event that sleepwalking is due to any mental disorders, then therapy is aimed at treating them. Special relaxation rituals, meditation, and some relaxation techniques can reduce the likelihood of developing this disease.