Zombie Nation: Is Sleepwalking More Common Than We Thought?


| 8 Comments

Have you ever woken up in the morning and wondered where you where or how you got there? Well, so do 1 in 3 Americans who reported sleepwalking. A sleepwalking study performed by Neurology, observed 19,136 Americans ages 18 and older- and found that sleep walking was a lot more common than we all thought before. Some of the most surprising statistics that were found were that 30% of all American's sleepwalked. 3.6% of those people sleepwalked in the past year. 


 

sleepwalker3-431x300.jpg

In addition to the general observations of the researchers, participants were also surveyed over the phone regarding their family history, medical health, and lifestyle habits. The study found that the people who sleep walked once in the past year (3.6%) were most likely to have a family history of sleepwalking. Another important finding in the study was that people with depression were 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk, and those with obsessive-compulsive disorder were four times more likely to do so.

 

I personally thought that the craziest finding in this whole study is that most people who are sleepwalking, don't even know it! The study's author, Maurice Ohayon, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Center, say's  "Their partners will wake up in the morning and tell them about it. It can be very disruptive to others, while the person walking at night can be quite unaware."


Sleepwalking.jpg

 

So what can we do to cure sleepwalking? Nothing. Fortunately though, there are preventative measures we can take. WebMD gives us a couple of ideas...


1) Try to manage stress in a healthy way and relax

2) Get adequate sleep.

3) Avoid any kind of stimulation (auditory or visual) before bedtime

 

If you, or someone you know, sleepwalks, don't be alarmed! It is in fact a lot more common than we all thought. However, it's important to consider making some of the lifestyle changes mentioned above, to help prevent sleepwalking habits like this in the future. Sleep tight! 

8 Comments

I've heard that when you awake someone who is sleep walking it can prove to be a very unsafe situation for the individual. According to Dr.Juan a sleepwalker will only disorient them being mainly because sleepwalkers don't realize their actions and seeing themselves awake outside of their bed would prove to be a very weird situation, kind of scary if you think about it. There is also research done on the brain and sleepwalking. The brain immobilizes the body while we sleep to prevent us from actually partaking in the actions of our dreams this is the REM part of our sleep cycle. Sleepwalking happens in the deeper state of the sleep cycle stages 3 and 4 that the brain is active enough to operate but not active enough to be conscious of the movement. A study suggests that sleepwalking is an imbalance in the brain during the sleep cycle. Sleep walking is a scary thing my younger brother was notorious for this he'd wake up in different rooms and ask who put him there in the mornings. These people are fully functional as if they are awake but they aren't conscious of their actions. Just imagine if they lived by a construction site or a highway this can prove to be deadly.

Recently, Ira Glass of NPR's This American Life did a show on sleepwalking and people's struggles with sleeping. The link I've put below NPR's piece on a new Sundance movie that chronicles one man's unpredictable sleep walking patterns. As suggested in carolyn's post, the film (based very much on truth) follows a man prone to depression, and shows how his daily life was a large portion of why he was sleep walking. My question regarding the problem of sleep walking is the fact that some suggest that there's a sleep walking "gene". Research is beginning to find more on this, but a lot of questions remain. How could there be a sleep gene? Of course it lacks the controversy of the homosexuality gene, but is the debate essentially the same?

When I first read this I immediately thought of that one Hey Arnold episode when Helga eats all those pork rinds and then sleep walks to Arnold's house every night. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, I put the link to the episode below!) Anyways, it got me thinking, does food really affect your sleep? I couldn't find anything to support that certain foods cause you to sleep walk, however eating certain foods before bed can cause you to have nightmares or more vivid dreams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAnvPBa7PiY

I think the scariest part of sleepwalking is that the person never remembers it. My brother has been sleepwalking his whole life. He does it at least once a night. He'll be completely asleep and walk into my room and have a conversation with me. I can always tell when he's asleep because he says random things and seems really disoriented, but he has never remembered anything he has done... even taking a shower! It's scary! I read on kids health that there actually is some sort of "cure" for sleepwalking though. It's VERY rare for a doctor to do this, but sometimes they will prescribe medicine to someone to make their sleepwalking stop if it's really bad. Doctors also recommend a treatment called scheduled awakening. This disrupts the sleep cycle enough to help stop sleepwalking. These two things are usually only tried in very severe cases of sleepwalking, where it has become dangerous or harmful to others.
http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/sleepwalking.html#

and Sarah to your post- I didn't find anything about foods causing people to sleepwalk either, but I found some stuff about drinks. Apparently, sleepwalkers should not drink a lot before bed because a full bladder contributes to sleepwalking. Weird! Caffeine before bed also can contribute to sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking is an extremely interesting phenomena. I find it amazing how one can unconsciously do something physical without knowing it. I have a friend who used to sleep walk downstairs in the middle of the night and make himself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich every night and didn't realize it until his parents caught him one night. Really weird stuff for sure. There are mild cases of sleepwalking but there are also extreme ones like the one in this article: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/jersey-woman-sleepwalks-death/story?id=15214754#.UHuFH6kk_dk This article is about a woman who may have sleepwalked into a lake.

My question is, what determines the intensity of a sleepwalk? Why do certain people go to a further extent then others?

Sleepwalking is an extremely interesting phenomena. I find it amazing how one can unconsciously do something physical without knowing it. I have a friend who used to sleep walk downstairs in the middle of the night and make himself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich every night and didn't realize it until his parents caught him one night. Really weird stuff for sure. There are mild cases of sleepwalking but there are also extreme ones like the one in this article: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/jersey-woman-sleepwalks-death/story?id=15214754#.UHuFH6kk_dk This article is about a woman who may have sleepwalked into a lake.

My question is, what determines the intensity of a sleepwalk? Why do certain people go to a further extent then others?

Sleepwalking is an extremely interesting phenomena. I find it amazing how one can unconsciously do something physical without knowing it. I have a friend who used to sleep walk downstairs in the middle of the night and make himself a peanut butter & jelly sandwich every night and didn't realize it until his parents caught him one night. Really weird stuff for sure. There are mild cases of sleepwalking but there are also extreme ones like the one in this article: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/jersey-woman-sleepwalks-death/story?id=15214754#.UHuFH6kk_dk This article is about a woman who may have sleepwalked into a lake.

My question is, what determines the intensity of a sleepwalk? Why do certain people go to a further extent then others?

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