Sleepwalking is a disorder that causes people to get up and walk while they're asleep.
It usually happens when a person is going from the deep stage of sleep to a lighter stage or into the awake state. The sleepwalker can't respond during the event and usually doesn't remember it. In some cases, he may talk and not make sense.
Brian Cyphers has always had trouble falling asleep at a "normal" hour. A few years ago, when the 24-year-old Chicagoan was dozing off between 3 and 5 in the morning and had to wake up at 6:30 to get to his job as a data entry clerk at a lab, he knew it was time to seek help.
Cyphers sought assistance from Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Ill., and a specialist in sleep disorders. Shives frequently sees patients who want to alter their night owl ways. "People...
Sleepwalking mostly happens in childhood, typically between the ages of 4 and 8. But adults can do it, too.
When someone sleepwalks, they might quietly walk around their room. Or they might run or attempt to "escape."
Typically, the sleepwalker's eyes are open with a glassy stare as he roams the house. If you question him, he'll be slow to respond or not respond at all. When you get him back to bed without waking him up, he usually won't recall the event.
Older children may wake up more easily at the end of a sleepwalking episode.
Several things can lead to sleepwalking.
It can run in the family. Identical twins are more likely to sleepwalk. If you have a parent, brother, or sister who sleepwalks, you're 10 times more likely to do so than someone from a family with no sleepwalkers.
Taking drugs such as sedative-hypnotics (which promote relaxation or sleep), neuroleptics (used to treat psychosis), stimulants (which boost activity), and antihistamines (used to treat symptoms of allergy)
Medical conditions that have been linked to sleepwalking include: