Nobody ate your ice cream, you simply did it all by yourself, in your sleep!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleepwalking is a behaviour disorder that occurs during deep sleep and can result in the person performing different activities. This disorder is more common in children than adults, but if you are sleep deprived, then you are susceptible to having a sleepwalking incident.
What Happens When You Sleep Walk
There is more to sleepwalking than walking. There is a series of complex things that could take place, walking is just the tip of the iceberg. During sleepwalking, you can find yourself just sitting up in bed, leaving the house and going elsewhere. Some just find themselves in the kitchen, fixing a snack or eating.
What Triggers Sleepwalking
Children between ages 6 and 12 suffer most from sleepwalking. However, anyone younger or older can experience it, and sometimes sleepwalking runs in families. While this is generally a harmless state, continued occurrences should be addressed with the help of a physician. Some of the triggers are quite common.
- Sleep deprivation
- Certain types of medication
- Febrile illnesses
- Sedative agents
Living With Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking is not a life-threatening condition, but in circumstances where the person engages in intense activities like driving or walking out of the house, then there is a need for steps to be taken to ensure their safety. Sleepwalking should never stop you from going about your regular daily business.
Get enough sleep
There is no specific treatment for sleepwalking, but there are general ways to help yourself or someone you know. The first rule is to ensure that you try to get enough sleep and ensure that you have a regular and relaxing routine to go with it.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Prepare your room by ensuring it is dark and quiet before you go to sleep.
- Be creative and do things that make you relax some hours or minutes to bed. You can read or have a warm bath.
Medication is not the first go to, but in cases where you are prone to injury or causing it, antidepressants or benzodiazepines are prescribed. The medication helps reduce the frequency of sleepwalking occurrences.
In some cases, therapy is integrated. Methods such as hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy may be used to treat sleepwalking.
Reduce elements that can cause injuries
There are common injuries like lacerations and bruises, but at times these injuries can become serious where there is bumping into walls, tripping and falling. There are also instances where a sleepwalker may become violent and becomes a danger to their loved ones.
To mitigate such incidences, create a safe environment is crucial, and you can ensure this by doing the following:
- Lock the doors and windows at night
- Keep the cars keys out of reach
- Turn off the settings of anything that could cause burning or scalding
- Put up gates at the bottom or top part of the stairs
- Guide the sleepwalker back to bed, gently
Living with sleepwalking is all a matter of being proactive and less reactive. Anticipate the needs and the incidences that could take place. In this way, you will be helping the person not to harm themselves or others plus reduce the occurrence of such episodes.