What is Sleepwalking (Somnambulism)? Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

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What Is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking is a situation where one cannot make a distinction over reality. Let’s find out what actually is sleepwalking. Sleeping is an inherent part which cannot be abandoned no matter the person’s desire or condition, it is a must needed need and it is the last Maslow’s hierarchy as part of physiological needs among which are included water, shelter, food, breathing and sleeping too. Nobody can survive without sleep except those who lost the ability to sleep as a result of any brain injured.

However, most of the time people argue the fact of sleeping as a process in which the physical reaction is low and sometimes it is determined as a situation in which a person might be half dead. Sleeping is not manifested in the same pattern to all persons, that differs from one to another, when the reality and the dreaming are mixed up it can be defined as somnambulism or simply sleepwalker.

Those people cannot make a distinction over reality. During this time the physical reaction appears to be the same as waking time, people react normally as they do in the daytime but the time and the situation do not occur in reality. Moreover, sleepwalking happened in the fourth stage of sleeping during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) to which a person is dreaming and it occurs mostly to children (Nushi and Juniku, 2006, p.173). In regard to its cause, reaction and other questions, the answers can be found in the subsequent sections.

What is Sleepwalking (Somnambulist)? Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Also Read: 7 Weird Things People Have Done in Their Sleep

What Causes Sleepwalking?

Still, there is nothing certain what is the reason for it but it is true that this situation is like hypnoses and it derives as a result of neurons disorder. According to Mindell JA and Owens JA (2003), 40% of children experience it during childhood time between 3-7 years. Although, it is vivid to state that if one of the parents have been somnambulist chances to be presented to his/her children are certain.

It has been investigated that sleepwalking to children happened after one or two hours and the time of sleepwalking can be 30 minutes to some seconds that is hard to wake them up in that situation. As soon as they are awake the condition is the same as those who are drunk and felt confused (Kids Health from Nemours).

However, the reason to cause it depends from several factors by including deficiency of sleep, do not follow a sleeping timetable, as a result of any disease, the effect of some pills, the impact of sleeping environment whether it could be loud or not and the strongest factor of most, stress.

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The other issue to make it happen when people tend to be somnambulists might be the same voice that interrupts sleeping as the main motive toward sleepwalking (Sleep Health Foundation, 2011).

There are other circumstances in which somnambulism finds its way such as breathing problems, hypnotics pillars, alcohol is another point, problems with legs and gastronomical disorders specifically gastroesophageal reflux disease (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017).

What Happens During Sleepwalking?

The sleepwalkers’ habits are considered to be innocuous as standing up and talking, walking through the room, they can open and close doors or wear clothes and go out (Kids Health from Nemours). There is another unusual instance when they get out of home by holding heavy items and do complicated actions like walking in the middle of the road.

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It is important to state that during this period their eyes are open and can stare at people but do not identify them. Furthermore, if the other person talked to a sleepwalker, he/she can give a response that does not correlate to the relevant situation and they are not able to remember what has happened (NHS, 2018).

Nevertheless, my mother illustrates an example of this case when one of her relatives woke up and got the cattle out of the home, this person remained in this situation until the morning came.

There are many situations about this disorder which might be minute but it will be better to take care of those who might be risky to the sleepwalkers when identifying and it should be superior to know some basic steps how to react with them.

What is Sleepwalking (Somnambulist)? Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Also Read: What Is Depression? Depression Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatments

How to React to a Sleepwalker?

Since this process can be considered as something that a person is not aware of his/her reactions, so that, it is suggested to be observed by following some types concerning this problem.

  • First of all, it is recommended to keep them safe since they might damage themselves or they might walk outside of the home. Ask them to take certain measures to improve sleep at home.
  • At this time doors and windows should be locked so that until they open them any member of the family can notice.
  • Another instruction is by guiding any person back to bed by speaking to them in a quiet and smooth way.
  • While sleepwalking it is suggested to not wake them up because this situation might bring him/her in an angry situation (Mindell JA and Owens JA, 2003).
  • Moreover, there are other ways to protect those situations by giving them a chance to sleep in a regular bed and but not in a bunk bed, by leaving out the items that might be sharp or glasses, removing hazard objects which might be taken by them, and trying to build safety gates outside of the sleepwalker room (Kids Health from Nemours).

Based on the above-mentioned facts and ideas it is concluded that sleepwalkers experience this problem which might be dangerous for them and to the people with whom they share the sleeping room.


Thus, a somnambulist is someone who is not conscious about his or her deeds. There are some factors that cause it and it is better to avoid them. It can be guided by parents mostly since they are children who suffer from it. Besides the circumstances to cause it, there are ways to guide which prevent them from any damage.

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