If you are having any symptoms or have any questions, please call 811 to speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day.
What is sleepwalking?
Sleepwalking is a disorder in which a person partly, but not completely, awakens during the night. The person may walk or do other things without any memory of doing so.
Should I worry if a family member sleepwalks?
Not really. Sleepwalking is fairly common in children, but can occur at any age. You do need to help make sure that your family member doesn’t injure themselves while sleepwalking.
What are the symptoms of sleepwalking?
A person who is sleepwalking may sit up in bed and repeat certain movements, such as rubbing their eyes or fumbling with clothes. The person may get out of bed and walk around. They may even perform routine actions, such as getting dressed, cooking, or driving a car. The person may look dazed, and their movements and speech may be clumsy. When you talk to the person, they usually will not answer you.
Depending on the person, sleepwalking may happen often (for example, every night or multiple times a night) or only occasionally. Most people who sleepwalk begin sleepwalking as children, then outgrow it by the time they are teenagers.
Does my family member need treatment for sleepwalking?
Probably not. But contact a healthcare provider if your family member does dangerous things while sleepwalking, or if sleepwalking causes other problems (such as sleepiness during the day). Also, most children outgrow sleepwalking. But if your child sleepwalks for a long time, contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may want to look at the problem more closely.
Some medicines can be used to treat sleepwalking. Your healthcare provider may recommend you keep a “sleep diary” for your family member to record the times when your family member sleepwalks.
What should I do when a family member sleepwalks?
The most important thing you can do is prevent injury by removing dangerous objects from areas that your family member might reach. You should keep doors and windows closed and locked so that the sleepwalker can’t wander outside. If necessary, your family member may have to sleep on the ground floor for better safety.
When you find your family member sleepwalking, you should gently guide them back to bed. Don’t yell, make a loud noise, or shake your family member to wake them up.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
- Is there something wrong with my child?
- Should I wake my child while they are sleepwalking?
- Could stress be the cause of my child’s sleepwalking?
- Should I talk to my child about sleepwalking?
- Should I ask my child if anything is wrong?
- Should I sleep in the room with my child so I know when they are sleepwalking?
- What medicines can help my child?