While somnambulism is commonly referred to as sleepwalking, it includes a wide range of abnormal behaviors while you’re sleeping such as sitting up or eating. At his accredited sleep center in Plano, Texas, board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine expert Rajiv Joseph, MD, PhD, FAAN, diagnoses and treats sleepwalking to help you get sufficient, high-quality sleep. If you’re concerned about sleepwalking, make an appointment at Rajiv Joseph MD PA by calling the office or using the online booking feature.
Sleepwalking, clinically known as somnambulism, is a parasomnia sleep disorder. It’s an arousal condition that usually occurs during your deepest non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages.
Sleepwalking is prevalent in children and occurrences usually subside with the onset of puberty, although adults can also experience the disorder. In addition to getting out of bed and walking around, somnambulism can also cause:
If you sleepwalk, you probably don’t remember anything about what you do when you’re asleep. You may feel disoriented if you wake up during or soon after an episode. It’s also common to have daytime fatigue since your sleep is disrupted.
Several factors contribute to your risk of sleepwalking. For example, if you’re already sleep-deprived or if travel and time changes disrupt your sleep schedule, you’re more likely to sleepwalk.
Additionally, stress and illness can trigger sleepwalking. Some medications like sedatives and those used to treat mental health issues can also cause sleepwalking. You might also sleepwalk if you have a health condition such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
There’s a genetic or hereditary component to sleepwalking as well. If other people in your family sleepwalk, your chances of developing the condition increase.
There’s no single approach to treating sleepwalking, and in many cases, the condition resolves on its own. Dr. Joseph provides detailed consultations, including exams, sleep studies, and lab work, to understand your somnambulism and its causes. Then, depending on your needs, he suggests a course of treatment.
For example, if your sleepwalking is triggered by medication, he may adjust your dose or change the prescription. Similarly, if you sleepwalk because of another health condition or sleep disorder, Dr. Joseph treats the underlying disease that’s causing your symptoms.
Often, changing your sleep habits can reduce your incidence of sleepwalking. Many patients find it helpful to follow a bedtime routine that helps them settle down and fully relax before bed. You should also remove all electronic devices with screens from your room as they can not only distract you, but they also emit a blue light that interferes with the brain activity that allows you to fall asleep.
To learn more, schedule an appointment at Rajiv Joseph MD PA by calling the office or using the online booking feature.