Why Sleepwalkers Need Regular Sleep
Sleep Deprivation May Make Sleepwalkers More Likely to Foot It
March 19, 2008 -- Sleepwalkers may want to take extra care to make sure they
get enough sleep. New research shows that
when sleep deprived, sleep walkers are more likely to sleepwalk.
That finding comes from a Canadian study of 40 sleepwalkers.
The study supports recommendations for sleepwalkers to "maintain a
regular sleep cycle and avoid sleep deprivation," write the University of
Montreal's Antonio Zadra, PhD, and colleagues.
The sleepwalkers in Zadra's study spent a night at a sleep lab. They were
videotaped as they slept to record any bouts of sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers
typically don't sleepwalk every night.
That night, 20 people sleepwalked, and some of them did so more than once
that night, for a total of 32 sleepwalking episodes.
Starting the next morning, the researchers kept participants awake for 25
hours straight to see how sleep deprivation affected the sleepwalkers.
After being awake for 25 hours, participants slept for as long as they
wanted at the sleep lab. They hit the hay in the morning, so not only were they
weary, they were trying to sleep at an unusual time.
During their catch-up sleep, 36 people sleepwalked for a total of 92
Sleep deprivation may encourage sleepwalking in sleepwalkers, Zadra and
This study didn't include a comparison group of people who've never
sleepwalked. But in their past work, Zadra's team found that healthy people
with no history of sleepwalking weren't more likely to sleepwalk when sleep
The new study appears in the March edition of the Annals of
a sleep walker? Have you always been or do you think something, like sleep
deprivation, triggered you? Tell us about it on WebMD's
Sleep Disorders: Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM, message board.)