Sleepwalking disorder, as the name suggests, occurs when a person walks or performs any other type of activity while they are asleep. It is most common in children, but has been known to happen to adults from time to time. The time period when this occurs is usually when a person transitions from deep sleep to a lighter rest. Typically, adults have a harder time overcoming these episodes than children do. In general, children have no recollection of the occurrence while adults will remember small tidbits of the things that happened while asleep.
Genetics Can Be to Blame
The most common reason for this disorder is genetics. Anyone that has a history of sleepwalking in their family runs a higher risk of experiencing it themselves as studies show that a family history of this habit increases your likelihood 10 times. In addition, identical twins have a higher chance of this habit than non-twins, whether or not it runs in the family.
Poor Sleep Habits
Sometimes people that have poor sleep habits are prone to sleepwalking. Poor nighttime habits can be caused by you directly, or an indirect response to something going on in your body/mind. For example, stress can make it difficult to sleep properly, which can lead to overtiredness and eventual sleepwalking. Other examples include people that work odd shifts and have to constantly change their bedtime or those that party hard on the weekends, barely getting adequate rest and then switching to a regular sleep pattern during the week. The body thrives on regularity and when it does not get that regular pattern, it reacts in ways that can cause this disorder.
There are also some reasons that you may sleepwalk that you may or may not be able to control. Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome make it hard to get quality rest. This, in turn, can cause you to suffer from issues, such as sleepwalking. This is not to say that every person with either of these disorders will have these problems, but the likelihood is much higher. Other issues that can interrupt your resting time include asthma, heart issues, and even heartburn.
Strange Surroundings Can Interrupt Sleep
Last, but not least, your environment can be a cause in your body’s need to walk during sleep. If you rest in a noisy area, your body is not able to properly shut down, which eventually leads to being overtired, which is a main cause of sleepwalking. People that travel often can also suffer from this phenomenon because they are taken out of their comfort zone and forced to rest in quarters that they are not accustomed to which does not allow their body to rest properly.
While sleepwalking is not 100 percent preventable, it can be minimized by regulating your sleep patterns. Taking precautions to ensure that you are going to bed around the same time every night and waking at the same time every day; minimizing your stress; and taking good care of your overall health can help to decrease the episodes you experience. If you let your life get out of control and you do not take good care of your health, the first thing to typically suffer is your sleep, which can then lead to things like walking when you are not fully awake. Sleepwalking can be very scary and even dangerous in some situations, so it is important to figure out a way to reduce the risk of it happening to you and your loved ones.