Parasomnia: Is It The Reason For Your Nightly Sleepwalking?

If you sleepwalk every night, your family may worry about your safety and well-being. Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is a type of parasomnia disorder. The disorder generally causes you to do things in your sleep that other people wouldn't, such as sleepwalk or talk. You may even experience severe nightmares or terrors when you have parasomnia. Learn more about parasomnia and how it causes you to sleepwalk below.

What's Parasomnia?

Adults and children go through different stages of sleep at night, including deep sleep (REM) and light sleep (non-REM). Sleepwalking generally occurs when you transition from the REM stage to the non-REM stage. Although you may appear awake when you sleepwalk, you're actually still sleeping. 

Sleepwalking can range in degrees of severity. Light sleepwalkers may sit up in bed or talk to their spouses. Some light sleepwalkers may even straighten out their clothes or dress themselves. However, sleepwalking can be dangerous if you turn on your stove, take a hot bath, walk outdoors, or drive your car. It's also possible for sleepwalkers to injure themselves or other people.

Adult somnambulism may not go away on its own. In order to stop sleepwalking, you must learn why you do it in the first place.

How Do You Stop Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking can occur in people who take certain types of drugs before bedtime, such as sleep aids and elixirs. The medications may disrupt your natural sleep patterns over time. The condition can run in families as well. For example, if your parent walks in their sleep, you may also sleepwalk. 

A number of people who sleepwalk also suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be dangerous because of how it affects your body at night. Sleep apnea causes multiple small pauses in your breathing during the night. Your vital internal organs may not receive the oxygen they need to function well during the night. 

Once you know the cause of your sleepwalking, you can treat it. One of the things you can do is contact a neurologist or sleep center for care. A neurologist or sleep center specialists can use different methods to diagnose your condition properly. Some specialists offer sleep trials to help their patients overcome parasomnia disorders. Your treatment may depend on the underlying cause of your somnambulism and current state of health.

For more information or advice about parasomnia and treatment for somnambulism, contact a neurologist or sleep center today.