Sleepwalking: 5 Steps To Prevent It
Millions of people across the world struggle with sleepwalking episodes. Although a high percentage of them are children adults can also walk in their sleep.
It is not known to lead to any serious medical condition but what people do when sleepwalking is what makes it dangerous and it can also be a sign or a symptom of other conditions.
No known medicine can cure it completely and so the only solution is to know how to prevent it. It is important to know the symptoms and causes as this is what will help you figure out how to prevent sleepwalking.
What Causes Sleepwalking?
Many things can make a person walk when he or she is sleeping. These reasons will vary from one person to the other and so it is impossible to come up with one thing that is likely to make you sleepwalk. But, there are a few common causes that most experts will associate with sleepwalking and below are few of them.
Your body is a very complex machine and so just like the mechanical tools that we use to make life easy it needs refueling and a break to recharge. Whereas food and water provide it with fuel, it is sleep that gives it the much-needed rest. And so if you do not sleep enough you are likely to see some negative consequences of this and sleepwalking is just one of them.
If one of your parent or grandparents sleepwalks then there is an increased chance that you will also have the same problem. Research also proves that identical twins are more prone to walking in their sleep than other people. Doctors may not be able to explain the science behind this, but it remains one of the leading causes of sleepwalking.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress will interrupt your sleep and when this happens you are more likely to walk while sleeping because your body wants to rest while your brain does not allow it. The same is also true for anxiety, and a perfect example of this is when you are looking forward to something. You will not be able to sleep well because you will be anxious, and this can cause you to walk in your sleep.
Drugs and Medication
Alcohol and other drugs can also cause one to sleepwalk, and this is because they interfere with your regular sleep cycle. Hypnotics, stimulants, and neuroleptics also have the same effect because they will also mess your sleep.
If you are not okay mentally you are likely to start walking in your sleep. Disorders such as multiple personality disorder, dissociative state, panic attack and also post-traumatic disorder are some of those that can make you walk or talk when sleeping.
How To Prevent Sleepwalking
With the causes above in mind, the next and obvious step is to figure out how to prevent sleepwalking. As mentioned earlier on no known medication will help get rid of the condition instantly. And so your best bet, if you are a sleepwalker or have a child who sleeps walks, is to figure out how to prevent it. Here are a few things that you can do to alleviate the situation.
1. Get Enough Sleep
One cannot overemphasize the need of getting enough sleep, and this is more so if you are very active. Fatigue can trigger sleepwalking, and so the only way to get rid of it is by sleeping enough. An adult should sleep for at least eight hours every day while ten to fourteen hours is ideal for children. To reduce fatigue, you can try taking short naps during the day, go to bed early and also stick to a regular sleep schedule.
2. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol is one of the things that you need to be very careful with if you want to prevent sleepwalking. You should avoid drinking too much of it, and this is more so before you go to bed because it will cause sleep disturbances which will in turn trigger sleepwalking. Also, limit your intake of caffeine because coffee is a stimulant and it will make it hard for you to fall asleep.
3. Relax Before Going to Bed
Stress and anxiety are some of the leading causes of sleepwalking episodes, and so if you can avoid them, then you will reduce the probability of walking in your sleep significantly.
To help you with this you should establish a routine that will help you relax before retiring to be. You can listen to some soft music, keep the room quiet and dark, keep your heated mattress pad is at the right temperatures, and you can also take a warm shower before retiring to bed. Also, improve yours stress management skills by coming up with healthy ways of coping with the many stresses of life.
4. Anticipatory Waking
Most people will often sleepwalk at almost the same time each night. And so if you can figure this out you will be able to solve the problem with anticipatory waking.
It is a very useful prevention technique with kids as you only need to wake them up 15 minutes before the anticipated sleep walk and keep them awake for about five minutes. By doing this, you will be disrupting their sleep cycle and so they are more likely not to walk.
5. Treat the Underlying Condition
If everything that you try does not seem to work, it is time to visit the doctor for some checkup. The doctor will be able to tell if you have any underlying condition that may be causing you to sleepwalk. Treating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks might be all that you need to stop the walks or at least reduce the frequency of their occurrence.
Did you enjoy my sleep walking tutorial? I sure hope you did because the above simple tips for sleepwalking prevention are what I use with my son who has been sleepwalking since he was seven (now 13) and the condition is slowly going away because he can sometimes go for months without an episode.
Read more: Why Do People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?