Sleep Walking Causes And How To Stop
How do I tell that a person is a sleep walker?
It is easy to tell that an individual is a sleep walker. Such people have the habit of walking and at times walking and talking while they are deep asleep. A sleep walker will rise from their bed and start walking around the room. They might not say a word during the episode while others might keep babbling. Their eyes are wide open all this while and they may seem not interested in anything you say to them. Your attempt to wake them up may fall on deaf ears but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them back to bed.
Unfortunately, a sleep walker can do crazy things like escaping, jumping from a storey building or even harm others in the process. If they are no one to stop or control them, a sleep walker may leave their home and go a far distance. Surprisingly, a sleep walker can’t remember upon completion of a sleep walking scenario, this is because sleep walking takes place when one is deeply asleep.
What are the causes of sleep walking?
There are a number of things known to cause sleep walking.
Sleep walking can be a family thing, a case where your probability to sleep walk is high if one or both of your parents have a sleep walking disorder. It also happens in brothers and sister and quite common in identical twins. However, that is not an implication that if your family have no sleep walking cases, that you can’t be a sleep walker. Anyone can be a sleepwalker if exposed to the factors that lead to sleep walking. They include:
- Sleep deprivation: everyone needs to get quality sleep to be healthy. An individual’s health can be determined by the amount of sleep they get. While oversleeping may not be good for yourself, sleep deprivation will lead you to sleep walking not to mention the other dangers you are exposed to as a result of the disorder. As if that is not enough, sleep deprivation will cause you to develop other health-related problems and make you less productive.
- Stress: you must have an endless list of all the problems stress can cause. Maybe you never knew that stress can make you do crazy things like walking at night while asleep. Well…, know you know. Stress is a monster that distracts everything in your life and can send you to the streets at night unconsciously.
- Disorganized sleep schedule: it may seem hard to set regular sleep and wake up time but it is worth the effort. Your body should be used to a regular sleep schedule other than unpredictable or disorganized sleep schedule. Such a schedule will only make you a serious sleep walker not to mention that sleep walkers are faced with all types of challenges including death.
Certain drugs, for instance, sedative-hypnotics. Such drugs are meant to promote sleep or relaxation or even drugs used to treat psychosis. While such drugs may help you achieve your target, they also have grave side effects like leading to sleepwalking.
Are there medical problems related to sleepwalking?
You might never understand sleepwalking until you meet an individual who knows what it means to sleep walk. Apart from the extra activity of doing weird things while asleep, sleep walking can cause a number of medical problems. Here are some of them;
- Night seizures
Night seizures are unusual brain electrical activity that takes place during the night. Many are the times they go unnoticed but may lead to convulsions & unconsciousness in severe cases. Some of the individuals who have night seizures eventually get epilepsy. Persons suffering from night seizures are likely to develop sleep walking disorder.
- OSA or obstructive Sleep Apnea
This condition blocks breathing briefly when one is asleep. Sleep walking cases are common in with Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Problems with the heart rhythm
Restless legs syndrome is a condition that cause itchy feeling on ones legs during sleep or when going to bed accompanied by unpredictable urge to start walking. Restless legs syndrome is known to disrupt sleep leading to sleep deprivation. Some people with sleep walking cases also suffer from restless legs syndrome.
Psychiatric disorders such as panic attacks, stress disorders among others.
Can sleep walking disorder be diagnosed?
Sure! Sleep walking diagnosis is possible. If you suspect or are sure that you are suffering from a sleep walking disorder, don’t hesitate to consult the doctor for a sleep walking diagnosis. A doctor analysis the patient’s medical history. Doctor's analysis or evaluation may entail the following:
- Conduction a physical examination; in order for a doctor to rule out whether you are suffering from a sleepwalking disorder or not, a physical examination has to be conducted. This is because there are conditions, for instance, night seizures or panic attacks that tend to be confused with the sleep walking disorder.
- Filling out a questionnaire for the doctor to know your symptoms. This can be more effective if your partner accompanies you to your doctor. At least, they know about your sleep walking symptoms more than you.
- Polysomnography or nocturnal sleep study; this is a vital process in sleepwalking diagnosis where you might be asked to spend a night in a sleep lab, where your sleep walking behavior is monitored. Some sensors are placed on the patient’s body and the evaluate & record the breathing, brain waves, heart rate as well as your blood's oxygen level.
In conclusion, due to the high number of accidents that arise as a result of sleep walking cases, sleep walking diagnosis should be done as soon as possible to prevent future problem. If you suspect that you have such a problem, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.