Sleepwalking is a sleep disorder where people commonly move about semi-consciously. People who sleepwalk during the night may get up and walk around, typically without fully waking up. Sleepwalking usually happens when you’re in slow-wave sleep, which is deep sleep that’s rich in delta waves. During deep sleep the body has relaxed muscle tone and the movements of the person who is sleepwalking are less inhibited than at other times during. Sleepwalking can occur throughout life but it becomes less common as people age.
Whether your children or even yourself have this disorder, then you should know fascinating facts about sleepwalking. We have compiled some surprising facts about sleepwalking to help you understand this symptom and broaden your knowledge. From trivia facts about sleepwalking to interesting habits that may cause sleepwalking, you will find them all in this article. Let’s jump to the list!
1. Approximately 40% Children Have Sleepwalked
Sleepwalking in young children, especially toddlers, is fairly common. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that up to 40% of kids, often between the ages of 3 and 7, have engaged in it. Your child will ultimately outgrow the habit, just like temper tantrums and nighttime awakenings.
Toddlers and young children who get out of bed at night and wander the house while still asleep are said to be sleepwalking. Within a few hours of going to sleep, it typically occurs early in the night.
2. You May Not Remember Sleepwalking
You might not even be aware that you are sleepwalking. The brain regions connected with learned movements, like walking, remain awake during sleepwalking, but the regions in charge of memory and judgment are still asleep. For instance, men who are sleepwalking frequently urinate in strange locations, like shoes, because they aren’t ‘awake’ enough to go to the bathroom.
Furthermore, amnesia is more common in children and teens, most likely for neurophysiological causes. A significant percentage of adult sleepwalkers occasionally recall their sleepwalking events. Some people can even recall their thoughts and feelings at the time.
3. Sleepwalker May Cause Violent
The sleepwalker comes across another person, most commonly a family member, while traveling about the environment during the sleepwalking session. This somebody might approach or make direct physical contact with the sleepwalker, which would set off a violent response. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, more than half of sleepwalkers engaged in aggressive sleep-related behaviors.
Sleepwalkers have the potential to cause harm to others as well as to themselves, including death. Sleepwalkers could put their dreams into action, possibly hurting themselves or other people. They are capable of engaging in extremely complicated behaviors such as long-distance driving and inflicting harm on others through violent and aggressive sleep.
4. It Can Be A Sign Of Parkinson For Men
If you typically sleepwalk with your eyes closed late at night, you could be suffering from REM behavior disorder, which is linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as parkinson disease (PD). According to AJMC, sleepwalking symptoms in men were strongly linked to an increased risk of having PD. Additionally, PD-related neurodegeneration may make it more difficult to control wakefulness during sleeping.
Besides, more than 75% of persons with PD experience sleep-related symptoms, one of the most prevalent nonmotor symptoms. Researchers point out that sleepwalking, which is brought on by non-REM sleep, is one of these symptoms and is very common in PD.
5. Millions Americans Sleepwalk Each Year
Up to 4% of adults experience sleepwalking, a frequent parasomnia. Complex activities that take place during awakenings from non-rapid eye movement sleep are involved. According to recent research from the Stanford University School of Medicine, upwards of 8.4 million American people, or around 3.6 percent of them, are prone to sleepwalking. The research also revealed a link between nighttime wandering and specific psychiatric conditions, including despair and anxiety.
The researchers also sought to assess the significance of medication use and mental problems related to sleepwalking for this study, which is the first to use a large, representative sample of the U.S. general population to show the number of sleepwalkers. Using phone surveys, they compiled data on the participants’ mental health, medical histories, and medication use from a sample of 19,136 people from 15 different states.
6. Medicine May Cause Sleepwalking
Several medications, including beta blockers, antipsychotics and antidepressants, have been linked to sleepwalking. In some cases, using certain drugs along with alcohol can result in sleepwalking. These include a narcolepsy drug and a sleep aid.
Sleeping drugs such as eszopiclone, zaleplon, and zolpidem can also result in complex sleep behaviors such as sleepwalking, sleep driving, and performing other activities while not fully awake. Despite being uncommon, these complicated sleep habits have caused major harm and even death.
7. Sleepwalking Impact On Bodyweight
Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NS-RED), though less frequent than sleepwalking, can happen with sleepwalking. This disease causes people to consume when they are asleep. They frequently enter the kitchen and begin to prepare food without recalling doing so.
The mess they leave behind or any unexplained extra inches around their waist may be the only evidence. A person may gain weight and face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes if NS-RED occurs frequently enough. In addition, a person is diagnosed with night eating syndrome, a disorder that is closely linked, when they eat while awake and may find it difficult to go asleep again unless they eat.
8. Sleepwalking Could Be Genetic
Numerous studies have observed that sleepwalking does appear to run in families. An identical twin is significantly more likely to sleepwalk if their other twin does, as over 80% of sleepwalkers have a family history of the condition. Previous research revealed that sleepwalking may have a hereditary basis. According to the Finnish Twin Cohort study, the concordance rate between monozygotic and dizygotic twins was around 1.6 times higher for childhood sleepwalking and about 5.3 times higher for adult sleepwalking.
Scientists have linked the illness to a specific region of chromosome 20 after researching a big family with four generations of sleepwalkers. They’ve discovered that having even one copy of this damaged DNA will turn a person into a sleepwalker.
9. Sleepwalking Is Related To Tiredness and OSA
Contrary to popular belief, drowsiness can cause sleepwalking. High levels of stress, poor sleep hygiene, or even protracted bad sleep as a result of a sleep disorder can all contribute to fatigue. If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you’re especially prone to sleepwalking.
According to Sleepeducaiton, hallucinations, sleepwalking, and even dream acting are “parasomnia” symptoms that affect about 10% of all OSA patients. In order to minimize or perhaps stop your sleepwalking if it is brought on by a sleep problem, you should try to get high quality sleep and treatment.
10. It Happens During Non-REM Sleeping Phase
People experience numerous cycles of REM and non-REM sleep each night. Early in the night, during deep, non-REM sleep, is when sleepwalking most frequently happens. While the sections of the brain that would normally temper their primitive impulses slumber, the limbic region of the brain, which deals with raw emotions, and the area of the cortex, which controls complicated motor action, remain awake. Children and young adults are far more likely than older persons to have sleepwalking.
Shortly after falling asleep, someone who sleepwalks is at an entirely different stage of sleep than someone who exhibits comparable behaviors later in the night. In the first third of the night, during the non-REM sleep stages of sleep, the majority of people will sleepwalk.
11. Sleepwalkers Eyes Usually Almost Open
While sleepwalking, the eyes are typically open. However, the person will gaze straight through strangers and not recognize them. They frequently maneuver around familiar objects with ease. When you speak to someone who is sleepwalking, they might only react partially or say things that are illogical.
Although their eyes are open, sleepwalkers’ vision differs from that of an awakened person. They frequently believe they are somewhere else entirely or in other sections of the house. Sleepwalkers frequently return to bed on their own and have trouble remembering events the next day. The RBD variety of sleepwalking, however, is distinguishable because it almost always involves closed eyes.
However, those who are experiencing the RBD type of sleepwalking will almost always have their eyes closed, which marks them out.
12. Waking Up Sleepwalkers May Lead To Patient Disorientation
Although a patient can be awakened from sleepwalking without danger, doctors advise against it because it is ineffective and causes patient confusion. In addition, waking them up may encounter resistance or violence, although it is extremely rare that they will injure the person waking them. Instead, if the sleepwalker is not stopped and guided back to bed, he may unwittingly endanger his own health.
The sleepwalker will behave in a way that mimics a fight-or-flight reaction when startled. They risk hurting themselves or the person waking them up if they lash out or fall. So, the best thing you can do is gently guide or lead a sleepwalker back to bed so they can finish their night’s slumber.
13. Fixing Sleep Environment and Lifestyle May Prevent Sleepwalking
Since the quality of your sleep depends on both your physical and mental health, you can strive to improve the sleeping environment and lifestyle to reduce sleepwalking factors. Although there is no known technique to completely avoid sleepwalking, there are several measures that can be taken to reduce the risk. Start cutting back on your nighttime consumption of alcohol and coffee. Prior to going to bed, try taking a warm bath or practicing deep breathing. Create a cozy, silent, and dark bedroom.
Additionally, make an effort to avoid eating a large meal just before night. In addition, you can exercise during the day rather than at night. Attempting to go to bed at the same time every night will also aid in providing you with restful sleep.
14. The Longest Distance Sleepwalking Recorded
The 1989 edition of the Guinness Book of Records was published, providing the most recent information on the longest, largest, and fastest records. Milestones in sports, business, science, nature, and the arts are listed in the most recent 312-page edition. But the items that draw trivia enthusiasts to the book frequently fall under the more individualized heading of the weird.
The longest sleepwalking distance recorded in the book was 100 miles in 1988. Michael Dixon, a 12-year-old from Danville, Illinois, who boarded a freight train and traveled to Peru, Indiana, received the award. He was discovered roaming close to a railroad track in his jammies and bare feet.
15. Sleepwalking Will Make You Fearless
Sleepwalking is the act of moving around or performing difficult tasks while not fully awake. Typically, it takes place while you are sleeping deeply. When the limbic system, which is in charge of emotions, and the motor cortex, which is in charge of sophisticated motor actions, are awake while the rest of the brain is asleep, sleepwalking can occur. With this condition, you will start to lose your fear and start to perform extreme things.
For instance, around two in the morning a 15-year-old British girl was discovered curled up asleep on top of a 130-foot crane. A German teen, meanwhile, jumped from a fourth-floor window and continued to sleep even after reaching the ground.