Is Sleepwalking Harmful?


Despite its name, sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism actually involves more than just walking. Sleepwalking behaviors can range from harmless (sitting up), to potentially dangerous (wandering outside), ones. Regardless the actions of the sleepwalkers take part in during sleepwalking episodes it is unlikely that they’ll remember ever having done it. There are numerous questions that people have in regards to sleepwalking, in particular if sleepwalking is harmful? A recent WebMD article discussed the facts behind the many myths of sleep walking.

When does sleepwalking occur?

As we sleep, our brains pass through successive cycles of sleep: stage one, two, three, four and REM. Together those five stages comprise one cycle of sleep which normally a cycle lasts ninety minutes. Sleepwalking usually happens during the first sleep cycles deepest sleep stages; three and four.

Why do we sleepwalk?

Sleepwalking is much more common in children than adults. Most sleepwalking is genetic and the majority of sleepwalkers grow out of it by the age of twenty. Other identified contributed factors to sleep walking are:

  • Fatigue
  • Interrupted Sleep
  • Illness or fever
  • Certain medications
  • Stress

Is sleep walking dangerous?

Most sleepwalkers don’t sleepwalk often, so it’s not usually a serious problem. However, sleepwalking episodes can be hazardous when they’re frequent or intense especially because sleepwalkers aren’t awake and may not realize what they’re doing, such as walking down stairs or opening windows.

To gain more insight with about sleepwalking as well as to get other sleep questions answered that you may have visit the NorthShore University HealthSystem forum on sleep,

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