Familiarity with sleepwalking; A strange and favorite disorder of horror filmmakers
Most likely, you have probably come across the term sleepwalking in public circles, and others talk about this condition very easily. However, sleepwalking is a serious and complex disorder that needs to be found as soon as possible to treat or prevent its occurrence. In this article, along with the complete introduction and description of sleepwalking disorder, comprehensive scientific information is also provided about the things that can be done to help sleepwalking patients. We know it as sleepwalking. As the name of this condition suggests, sleepwalking is a behavioral disorder that occurs during sleep and causes the person to suddenly get up from bed in a semi-conscious state when he is in a deep sleep. No conscious cause moves. However, more complex and unpredictable behaviors can be seen in this group of patients. Sleepwalking occurs more in children than in adults and it is likely to be a hereditary problem; That is, if one of the family members has suffered from this abnormality, the individual's children may also face this problem in the future. In general, active treatment is not necessary for many people, but when the number of sleepwalking is increasing day by day or the deterioration of this process is gradually increasing, drug therapy can be useful.
Is sleepwalking a Is it considered a sleep disorder?
Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder that is called parasomnia in scientific texts. Parasomnia) is known. Parasomnias are actually abnormal behaviors during sleep. In this disorder, there is a struggle and a conflict between the state of wakefulness and sleep, and that is why the behavior and performance of humans during different episodes of parasomnia are abnormal. Classified part of the sleep cycle. Sleepwalking may occur during non-REM (NREM) sleep, typically stage 3 of the sleep cycle; This phase is called deep sleep. Of course, there are other types of parasomnias including sleep talking, vague arousal, and sleep terrors that generally occur during this stage of sleep.
Symptoms of sleepwalking
Symptoms of sleepwalking can It involves a wide variety of behaviors from simple to complex that a sleeping human performs. During an episode, the person may open their eyes, but in any case, they are unable to speak normally during sleepwalking. It is very important that, contrary to the name of this condition, which is sleepwalking, the patient's behavior is not limited to walking. Other types of behavior can occur during these episodes. For example, we can mention running and even daily tasks such as dressing, shaking the sofa and even violent behavior in the world of sleepwalking. The patient can show more complex behaviors such as trying to drive during sleepwalking.Each episode of sleepwalking can last from a few seconds to half an hour
Each episode of sleepwalking can last from a few seconds to half an hour. come However, usually 10 minutes is the average time a patient experiences a sleepwalking episode. After the episode ends, the sleepwalker may return to bed or wake up in another location in other scenarios. A key symptom of this condition lies in the fact that after waking up, the person has no idea that he was sleepwalking and officially has no knowledge of his behavior the night before. For this reason, these people often hear about sleepwalking from their families who live under the same roof. Another element of sleepwalking disorder is that it often occurs in the first third or half of the night. According to studies, it is more likely that a person will experience a sleepwalking episode at this time; because it is in the deep stage of NREM.
Prevalence of sleepwalking
Complication of sleepwalking It occurs more often in children than in adults. In a study, it was found that 29% of children between the ages of 2 and 13 experience sleepwalking, and in this population, the peak experience is reported between the ages of 10 and 13. In adults, this number is reported to be over 4%.
The fact is, because people do not often remember their sleepwalking episodes, it is quite a challenging task to estimate the frequency of sleepwalking episodes. In another meta-analysis study, researchers reviewed 51 sleepwalking studies to more accurately estimate the prevalence of sleepwalking. 5% of children and 1.5% of adults have experienced an episode in their last 12 months.
Is sleepwalking dangerous?
Implications Very serious in terms of health, he can get sick due to sleepwalking. During sleepwalking, a person may fall from a height or hit an obstacle while walking or running. On the other hand, handling sharp objects or trying to drive can even endanger a person's life. Violent behavior can cause serious harm to the sleeper and even others. Some sleepwalker behaviors may cause embarrassment to the person after telling the person; Because some behaviors may be considered disgusting and insulting. In the same way, patients will gradually become withdrawn and isolated.Various studies have shown that the patient can show symptoms of insomnia
Various studies have shown that the patient can show symptoms of insomnia (Insomnia). show off; Because usually sleepwalking can also happen during the day. Of course, it is not yet clear whether this disorder occurs due to a problem in the sleep cycle or there are other factors involved that lead to the risk of sleepwalking. Most importantly, the phenomenon of sleepwalking can have negative consequences on the emotional partner, roommate and/or other family members; Because during each episode of sleepwalking, events occur in the person's home that can disrupt the comfort and comfort of others during sleep and daily life.
Reasons of sleepwalking
Scientists They believe that sleepwalking occurs naturally when a person is in a stage of deep sleep and during sleepwalking, he only partially wakes up. Because of this, the person's physical activities are activated, while he is still mentally asleep. Some of the different factors in this type of relative wakefulness are:
Family history and genetics
Studies show that there is a clear pattern in families that genetically parents can sleepwalk and Transmit other NREM type parasomnia disorders to your children. However, it is interesting to know that almost 22% of children whose family has no history of sleepwalking also experience this abnormality. On the other hand, among parents where only one parent experienced sleepwalking, 47% of children also sleepwalked, and among parents who both experienced sleepwalking, 61% of children were sleepwalking.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of sleepwalking. This lack of sleep causes a person to spend more time in deep sleep during the day to compensate for this lack of sleep to a significant extent.
Some different medications can have sedative effects and lead a person to experience an episode of sleepwalking. Antidepressants usually show this property.
Alcoholic drinks can change and transform people's sleep status and make them out of normal order and routine. Consumption of alcoholic beverages significantly increases the risk of sleepwalking.
Children are more likely to have a fever during sleepwalking. According to studies, fever can increase the incidence of sleepwalking episodes.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA for short is a sleep disorder. It is considered that the air flow is blocked in the respiratory tract during sleep. This obstructive process can occur many times during each night, and interruptions during sleep can lead to a sleepwalking session.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome (Restless Leg Syndrome) or abbreviated RLS is considered a type of sleep disorder that transmits a strong force to the organs, especially the legs, during rest. During a night's rest, this may happen many times before starting a sleepwalking session.
Different types of stress can affect sleep. For example, stress is able to disrupt a person's sleep or cause a person's complete sleep to be divided into several parts; It means that the patient wakes up from time to time during his night sleep. These factors seem to increase the background of sleepwalking. Stress can be both physical, such as physical pain, and it can be considered as a result of a mental event. Some types of stress may be caused by discomfort or changes in lifestyle. It is even possible that a person sleeps in an unfamiliar environment and sleepwalking occurs due to the stress imposed on the person. As they age, this disorder will gradually occur less. Of course, there have been cases where this group of people sleepwalks during puberty and suffer from this condition.
Treatment of sleepwalking depends on the age of the patient, the number of episodes and the intensity and severity of each episode of sleepwalking. For children and adults, the best solution can be to let the person from A doctor should use it in order to find the best treatment approach. Interestingly, in many reported cases, sleepwalking does not require any active treatment; Because in most cases, the episodes rarely occur and the danger does not threaten the life of the sleeper and his family. With increasing age, the number of episodes of this disorder decreases significantly. Similarly, sleepwalking improves spontaneously in most people. However, if sleepwalking is an ongoing process and the patient's mental state worsens instead of improving, strategies should be employed to manage this condition. In general, five strategies can be proposed to reduce or even treat sleepwalking disorder:
Treatment of the clear causes of this disorder
If the patient's sleepwalking condition is tied to one of the diseases of RLS or OSA, naturally, By treating the mentioned disorders, we can hope to cure sleepwalking. In another example, if a person is taking sedatives, it is possible to change the drug or at least reduce its dose with the coordination and consultation of the attending physician.
Awakening Anticipation is the process by which the sleepwalking individual is awakened from sleepwalking shortly before an episode occurs. Since sleepwalking is linked to a specific phase of the sleep cycle, this disorder usually occurs at a specific time each night. Waking up the sleepwalker a little before this time can prevent sleep and wakefulness; A situation that is considered a background for the occurrence of sleepwalking. This approach has been seen to be extremely useful for the treatment of sleepwalking children. However, this method can be used to help adults as well.
Improve sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the environment surrounding a person during sleep as well as his behavior in bed. Examples related to sleep hygiene include the lack of a calendar and proper timing for rest, as well as the consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages before sleep. Naturally, improving the state of sleep hygiene can make the state of human rest more stable and also of better quality. It is one of the behavioral therapies related to negative thoughts and behaviors. CBT technique for insomnia has shown that it can effectively improve sleep. In this method, the counselor or psychologist tries to change the person's perspective on sleep by talking to the patient. The CBT method is not only for the treatment of sleepwalking and it is also highly effective for managing and reducing the feeling of stress and anxiety. There was no solution to the problem, it is better to use different chemical drugs to improve the patient's condition. For example, benzodiazepines can be used to improve sleepwalking. Research shows that melatonin has the power to significantly control sleepiness. However, different chemical drugs have different side effects.
Is it right to wake up a person while they are sleeping?
Many experts debate whether it is appropriate to wake a sleepwalker during an episode. Many scientists believe that waking up sleepwalkers during their experiment is absolutely not the right thing to do. The important reason for the supporters of this belief is to avoid inducing stress to sleepwalkers; Because waking up the sleepwalker during the experience of sleepwalking causes them to suddenly feel fear, anxiety and even anger after waking up. These negative feelings due to this behavior are completely normal; Because after waking up, the person has no idea what happened to him in the sleepwalking state.
If you can, instead of waking up the sleepwalker, try to save him from potential dangers and On the other hand, try to guide the sleepwalker to his bed. To guide the sleepwalker to his bed, you can ask the sleepwalker to move forward in your desired direction in a quiet and whispering voice. In this case, you can gently hold the sleeper's hand. However, as much as possible, it is better to be careful so that the sleepwalker does not wake up suddenly due to the reason mentioned.
Source: American Sleep Association