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Sleepwalking Isn’t Always Something to Laugh About

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Though often a harmless behavior, sleepwalking is more common than you may realize (as many as 1 in 3 people), and can potentially lead to injury. Thankfully, there are a number of prevention strategies and remedies—both professional and home-based—that can be implemented.

The Facts on Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is caused by the brain’s inability to awaken all neurons from a period of sleep. Certain parts of the brain are awake (vision, mobility), but other parts are still asleep —namely the part of the brain that creates memory and affects judgement.

According to Mayo Clinic:

  • There are over 3,000 reported cases per year in the United States.
  • Sleepwalking most frequently occurs in children between the age of 3 and 13. The behavior often ceases before the teenage years.
  • If the behavior continues into the adult years, it could be coexisting with other sleep disorders.
  • Sleepwalking appears to be somewhat genetic. You are more likely to exhibit this behavior if one or both of your parents did.

Dangers of Sleepwalking

Even at mild frequencies, sleepwalking can lead to a disruption of valuable REM sleep, a disorder known as REM Behavior Disorder. If untreated, this can potentially lead to Parkinson’s disease.

Treatment and Prevention

If sleepwalking recurs often, or is leading to dangerous behavior, it is best to talk with a doctor as this is often a sign of a coexisting sleep or mental illness. If it is determined that sleep deprivation is the underlying cause, why not start with a new mattress? Take our Mattress Finder Quiz today to find out which mattress is right for you.

There are also a few home remedies that could prevent the behavior, or at least lower the associated risk:

  • Establish a normal, healthy sleeping schedule.
  • Make the environment safe by locking doors and windows, gating stairways, and making sure the house is picked up.
  • Identify the cause of any stresses or anxieties, and work to resolve them.

If you or someone you know is sleepwalking occasionally, check in with your doctor to confirm it’s harmless, then get the new mattress your subconscious has been waiting for!