What is sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a sleep disorder characterized by walking or other activities while still asleep. It is most common in children, but can also occur in adults. During an episode, a person may talk, walk around, eat, or do other activities that are done while awake. It can be a dangerous activity, so it is important to understand the causes and effects of it.

What triggers sleepwalking?

While the exact cause of sleepwalking is still unknown, research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role. One of the most common triggers is sleep deprivation. People who are tired or who don’t get enough restful sleep are more likely to experience sleepwalking episodes.

Other factors that may increase the risk of sleepwalking include stress, alcohol use, and certain medications. Certain sleep disorders may also trigger it such as sleep apnea or periodic limb movement disorder.

In order to prevent sleepwalking, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene. It is important to get enough sleep each night and to keep a regular sleep schedule. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants before bed can also help. If stress is a trigger, relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may help.

If you or someone you know is a frequent sleepwalker, it is important to speak to a doctor. A doctor can evaluate the individual to determine if any underlying medical conditions are contributing to the sleepwalking. They may recommend certain medications or lifestyle modifications to reduce the frequency of the episodes. In addition, a doctor can advise on how to make the sleeping environment safe to reduce the risk of injury during an episode.

The physiology of sleepwalking

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a behavior disorder in which a person acts out physical activities while in a deep sleep. We believe it to be caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, and can occur at any age, though it is most common in children. Although the exact physiology and neurology of sleepwalking are not fully understood, there are several theories that attempt to explain the disorder.

One theory suggests a disruption in the normal sleep-wake cycle, or the circadian rhythm causes that sleepwalking. During deep sleep, the brain waves slow and become quite regular, making it difficult for the body to process external stimuli and respond to it. A disruption in the normal sleep-wake cycle can cause a person to wake up during deep sleep and become confused, resulting in sleepwalking.

Another probable cause of sleepwalking is an imbalance in neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in the brain. We believe it to be related to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. An imbalance in serotonin levels can lead to disruptions in the sleep-wake cycle, resulting in sleepwalking. Neuroimaging studies have revealed that it is associated with specific areas of the brain. Studies have shown that the thalamus, a small structure in the center of the brain, plays an important role in controlling the onset and duration of the episodes. They also thought the prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobes of the brain to be involved in this issue.

Managing episodes

Sleepwalking is a condition in which a person gets up and walks around while still asleep. It is a type of parasomnia, a disorder that affects sleep. Treatment for the condition involves lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes can help manage the problem episodes include:

Sleep schedule: This helps keep the body in a rhythm and reduces the risk of sleep disturbances.

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine: These substances can interfere with sleep.

Reducing stress: Stress can interfere with sleep, so it is important to take measures to reduce stress levels.

Exercise: Exercise can help improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleepwalking. Medication is sometimes used to treat it.

The most common medications used are benzodiazepines, which work by calming the central nervous system and reducing arousal levels. Other medications such as anticonvulsants, melatonin, and clonidine have also been used to treat it.


The best strategies for managing sleepwalking episodes involve lifestyle changes, medications, and safety precautions. It is important to create a sleep-friendly environment and to identify and address any underlying causes of this issue. If medication is needed, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan. By implementing lifestyle changes, medications, and safety precautions, it is possible to manage sleepwalking episodes and improve overall sleep quality.