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- Patient Comments: Sleepwalking - Experiences
- Patient Comments: Sleepwalking - Symptoms
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- Sleepwalking facts
- What is sleepwalking?
- What causes sleepwalking?
- What are associated factors to consider?
- What are symptoms of sleepwalking?
- What are the signs and tests for sleepwalking?
- What other conditions will my doctor consider before diagnosing sleepwalking?
- How do you stop sleepwalking? What is the treatment for sleepwalking?
- What is the prognosis of sleepwalking?
- What are the complications of sleepwalking?
- When should you call your health care professional about sleepwalking?
- How can you prevent sleepwalking?
Quick GuideSleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and More
What are associated factors to consider?
Sleepwalking seems to be associated with inherited (genetic), environmental, physiologic, and medical factors.
Sleepwalking occurs more frequently in identical twins, and is 10 times more likely to occur if a first-degree relative has a history of sleepwalking.
Sleep deprivation, chaotic sleep schedules, fever, stress, magnesium deficiency, and alcohol intoxication can trigger sleepwalking. Drugs, for example, sedative/hypnotics (drugs that promote sleep), neuroleptics (drugs used to treat psychosis), minor tranquilizers (drugs that produce a calming effect), stimulants (drugs that increase activity), and antihistamines (drugs used to treat symptoms of allergies) can cause sleepwalking.
Physiologic factors that may contribute to sleepwalking include:
- the length and depth of slow wave sleep, which is greater in young children, may be a factor in the increased frequency of sleepwalking in children;
- conditions such as pregnancy and menstruation are known to increase the frequency of sleepwalking;
- associated medical conditions;
- arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms);
- gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux - food or liquid regurgitating from the stomach into the food pipe);
- nighttime asthma;
- nighttime seizures (convulsions);
- obstructive sleep apnea (condition in which breathing stops temporarily while sleeping); and
- psychiatric disorders, for example, posttraumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, or dissociative states (for example, multiple personality disorder)