Talking in asleep or even walking is part of the elements that make up sleep disorders.

They tend to be more recurrent in childhood (most commonly up to ten years of age) and the presence or persistence in adulthood, results in complications due to decreased ability to rest properly.

In this sense is sleepwalking, which is an alteration that occurs in the phases of sleep of slow activity (REM phase N3) and after movements and involuntary actions, the subject does not usually remember anything for when he wakes up.

In some cases it should be monitored, to prevent the person from getting hurt and it is important to mention that in adulthood it has more pathological linkage.

In the following article we will talk about what sleepwalking is, what are the causes that produce it, its symptoms and treatments.

What is sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking is recognized by theAmerican Academy of Sleep Medicineas a parasomnia (sleep disorders consisting of partial episodes of disruption or awakening), where motor activities are developed unconsciously.

It is a statistically more frequent activity in children and adolescents, being its pathological cause unknown and without having a totally effective treatment.

The belief that the movements that are made are related to the dreams that the individual is having is erroneous, and is much more frequent in men than in women.

It is not hereditary, but increases the percentage of possibilities by being present in both parents of an individual.

Causes of sleepwalking

Although sleepwalking does not have isolated causes that produce it, there are certain elements that influence its appearance. They will be mentioned and described below for your best understanding and identification.

Sleep disturbances

Sleep disturbances imply a disturbance that leads to a significant invasion where the problem develops and responses or involuntary movements occur, which are considered component elements of sleepwalking.

Among the alterations that can most influence this disorder, it is worth mentioning:

  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Night terror

high fever

High fever is considered one of the causes of sleepwalking, since high temperatures in our body often produce Hallucinationsand delusions. It also affects producing fatigue and tension in the body, which can influence the appearance of sleepwalking pictures.

stress and anxiety

Stress, anxiety and, above all, medical treatments for this type of condition, are very influential in sleep disorders and the presence of interruptions that lead to this consequence.

At the Madrid Sleep Institute where they developed an article on Sleepwalking in children , they state that the presence of anxiety greatly influences episodes of sleepwalking, where it occurs in stressful circumstances affecting the life of the infant.

Mental disorders

The presence of psychological disorders increases the risk of triggering sleepwalking, not being a precise reason but influencing on a large scale.

In this sense, mental disorders are usually related to episodes of sleep disorders, especially when they intervene in synaptic activity and generate cumulative sleep debts.

neurocognitive disorders

Neurocognitive disorders are those that produce decreased mental functions. It is mainly identified in disorders such as ADHD and in older adults where, biologically, there is a reduction in functions and lapses are affected, which includes sleepwalking and night terror.

Alcohol and drug use

There are substances that alter the organism and functionality of the central nervous system , which could result in sleep disturbance and the appearance of disorders such as sleepwalking.

In fact, it is considered that individuals or patients who usually present these pictures, when consuming alcohol works as a trigger for episodes.

Genetic factors

As we previously mentioned, the genetic factor has an influence on increasing the percentage of possibilities of presenting sleepwalking episodes, especially when both parents suffer from it.


In children it is the largest number of cases presenting sleepwalking episodes, since in advanced age they are synonymous with the presence of possible medical disorders that decrease and affect mental functions or neurocognitive activity.

Symptoms of sleepwalking

Sleepwalking develops through certain symptoms, which help to identify especially when pictures or episodes occur. Below we mention the most prominent symptoms.

Open your eyes sitting on the bed

It is the main symptom of recognition for sleepwalking. The individual’s eyes are open although he cannot really see anything, due to his unconscious state.

Sleep Walking

In the same way that the individual keeps his eyes open, he can walk through certain spaces from his own room, it may be a matter of minutes to half an hour, because he expands his limits around different places in the house. .


In a matter of the individual reacting from his sleepwalking state, he usually presents a state of confusion regarding where he is or if he is doing something without intention or conscience.

Lost look

In case of having the eyes open, the gaze is probably not going to be focused on someone or something specific, because as we mentioned previously, the individual is not really visualizing the objects around them.

nonsense talk

Saying nonsense things or even words that phonetically do not make any sense is one of the most common and recurring symptoms in sleepwalking. Sometimes they can even hold a conversation, which they will not remember hours later when they are awake and conscious.

Night terrors

Night terrors are a type of sleep disorder that often occur in conjunction with sleepwalking. They consist of a shaking of the body, fear and even screams in specific episodes or frames.

It is also considered a parasomnia and during them unconscious activities such as walking or talking are not carried out, even more so, the feeling of panic is inevitable and recurring.

Aggression upon awakening

When an individual can feel attacked during the sleep period, having a nightmare or being awakened abruptly, they can present aggressive physical behaviors or some that can be considered potentially dangerous for the integrity of the individual.

don’t remember the episode

As we previously mentioned, the individual upon waking up does not usually remember the episodes that occurred during the night or the sleep period. If he spoke, moved, had a conversation or even carried out activities of his daily routine, he will not be aware of it when he wakes up.

Perform daily activities

Regarding the activities of their daily routine, there are cases where active sleep is interrupted by the urgent need to move and carry out non-corresponding activities.

For example, turning lights on or off, moving house or car keys, and having a conversation.

strange behaviors

By strange behaviors, we mean the inability to coordinate when sleepwalking.

It is a state of ignorance and at the same time certainty, that the actions that are being taken are the right ones. For example, irrevocably believe that the bathroom door is the closet door and relieve yourself there.

Injuries from falls

Accidents that occur during sleepwalking produce the revelation of blows that can demonstrate to the individual the presence of unconscious actions during periods of sleep.

It is not only an indication, it is an alarm that allows the consideration of assistance and treatment to prevent major accidents.

daytime fatigue

The body, by not resting fully and correctly, presents fatigue after the sleep period.

In the study carried out by the Faculty of Medicine of Mexico on sleep disorders , they establish that one of the most recurrent symptoms in this type of disorder is fatigue and daytime sleepiness, which significantly affects personal performance and a deterioration in attention and concentration.

Treatment for sleepwalking

As we previously mentioned, there are isolated cases where it is necessary to go to assistance for the application of a treatment and reduce the existing risks in the sleepwalking disorder. Next we will mention the treatments used and recommended.

Scheduled wake up

Programmed awakenings, defined by an article by Asenarco on Sleepwalking , are techniques where the individual’s sleep is interrupted before the episode or incident occurs.

Said awakening is carried out by determining the time of the interruption with a follow-up during a period of fifteen days with registration and comparison of the episodes that are presented.

Prescription drugs

It has been evaluated that there are no suitable and isolated treatments for the solution of sleepwalking, even so, if they are a consequence of other disorders, treatments are administered to help sleep.

Also, if any of the prescribed drugs produce this effect, the adequate amount supplied is decreased or reformulated.

Relaxation Techniques

Neurological stimuli therapies are applied, with images that process positive messages to reduce the stress or anxiety of the individual at different stages to avoid the appearance of sleepwalking episodes.

In addition to this, breathing , relaxation and meditation exercises are added , which are very effective when it comes to falling asleep and maintaining it for several hours without interruption.

Security Measures at Home

Individuals who have recognized that they have sleepwalking episodes usually take security measures to avoid incidents during periods of sleep.

Even if you haven’t driven through one yet, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Among these measures should be considered:

  • Close the doors and windows well
  • Place fences if there are stairs in the house
  • Avoid using beds that are too high to prevent falls

Sleep the right hours

Controlling the sleep schedule and regulating compliance with them, is based on achieving that sleep is reconciled correctly.

In this way, the culmination of the appropriate and recommended cycles can be achieved, focusing on the reduction of fatigue and the risk of presenting sleepwalking episodes.

Reduce noise and distractions while sleeping

As we have previously mentioned, sleep disturbance will influence the chances that triggers are triggered that influence the pictures of individuals with sleepwalking.

Therefore, reducing noise and distractions will be key to its prevention.

Avoid stress and anxiety

The relaxation techniques that were previously mentioned are aimed at reducing stress and anxiety in individuals to reach a state where falling asleep and maintaining it without disturbances will help to reduce episodes.

In addition to this, active communication is recommended where discomfort or annoyance is expressed during the development of your daily routine, to avoid the accumulation of negative thoughts or sensations.

Avoid the consumption of alcohol and psychoactive substances

As we previously mentioned, the use of alcohol and substances in our body will increase the chances and risks of sleepwalking episodes by high percentages.

In fact, it is likely to be a sure trigger in these types of disorders.

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