Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder. A person who is sleepwalking may walk around or do other complex behaviors while still asleep. It may be as simple as sitting up in bed or as complex as leaving the house and going for a drive.
Factors that may increase your risk of sleepwalking include: Family history of sleepwalkingBeing a child—most common in preschool to pre-adolescence
Hyperthyroidism is an abnormal condition of the thyroid. It can affect many of the body's systems, including glands in the brain that can interfere with proper sleep.
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Along with walking during sleep, other symptoms can include: Sitting up in bed and repeating certain movements such as rubbing eyes or fumbling with clothesTalking in your sleepDifficulty arousing during a sleepwalking episodeDoing inappropriate behavior during a sleepwalking episode such as urinating in closetsBecoming violent when a person tries to wake youNot remembering the event
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be asked about your: Family historyFatigueMedicationUnderlying illness or stress
You may be referred to a sleep specialist. You may need to have a
done in a medical clinic.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
You will need to take steps to prevent injury during sleepwalking: Remove dangerous objects from your roomKeep doors and windows closed and locked
Some cases of sleepwalking can be treated with
You will be asked to keep track of what time of night the sleepwalking tends to occur. You then schedule a wake up just before that time. This may help stop the sleepwalking.
Medications that may help reduce sleepwalking include: Sedative-hypnoticsAntidepressants
To help reduce the chances of sleepwalking, take the following steps: Increase the amount of time scheduled for sleep.Avoid alcohol and certain medications that may trigger sleepwalking.Have a regular bedtime routine.
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Guilleminault C, Palombini L, et al. Sleepwalking and sleep terrors in prepubertal children: what triggers them?.
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Sleepwalking. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 13, 2014. Accessed June 3, 2015.
Sleepwalking. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/sleepwalking.html. Updated April 2014. Accessed June 3, 2015.
Sleepwalking. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at:
June 3, 2015.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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