Sleepwalking: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/22/2020

Sleepwalking is the act of walking about while asleep. Sleepwalking is much more common in children than in older people and is medically known as somnambulism.

Signs and symptoms of sleepwalking include

  • quiet walking around the room to agitated running and
  • appearing clumsy or dazed.

Typically, the eyes are open with a glassy, staring appearance. When speaking to the person sleepwalking, responses are slow with simple thoughts and may contain nonsense phraseology. They may not respond when spoken to. Other associated symptoms and signs can include

  • sitting up in bed,
  • being difficult to wake,
  • sleep terrors, and
  • not remembering the episode.

Causes of sleepwalking

Genetic, environmental, physiologic, and medical factors cause sleepwalking. Circumstances that may lead to sleepwalking include family history of the condition, fever, stress, sleep deprivation, certain medications, pregnancy, sleep apnea, seizures, and menstruation.

Other sleepwalking symptoms and signs

  • Appearing Clumsy or Dazed
  • Being Difficult to Wake
  • Not Remembering the Episode
  • Quiet Walking Around the Room to Agitated Running
  • Sitting Up in Bed
  • Sleep Terrors


Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.