Did you ever suddenly wake up and see your little child walking in the middle of the night in a dazed form? Does your child suddenly sit up in the middle of the night while his/her eyes are closed and even though you ask them what’s wrong they don’t reply? Well, in that case, your child is suffering from a common sleep disorder-Sleepwalking.

What is sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking, formally known as somnambulism, is a behaviour disorder that originates during deep sleep and results in walking or performing other complex behaviours while asleep. Though this condition is less likely to be present in adults, it is a common occurrence in children.

What are the causes of sleepwalking?

There are a number of factors that can affect the sleep of a child and result in them getting this disorder. These causes include-

– Fatigue/Lack of sleep

– Irregular sleeping habits

– Stress/Anxiety

– Change of sleep environment

– Illness/Fever

– Certain medications

Apart from these factors, sometimes, the genetic factor also plays a role like if anyone in the family has a history of sleepwalking.

What are the symptoms of sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking generally happens in the 3rd or 4th stage of sleep which is usually within one or two hours of falling asleep. In addition to walking while sleeping, there are some other symptoms that your child might have this disorder which include:

– Sleeptalking

– Little or no memory of the event

– Difficulty waking up the child during the episode

– Screaming

– Child being violent in sleep

What is the treatment of sleepwalking?

Though there are no outright treatments for sleepwalking, there are some tricks and tactics that you can use in order to help reduce the episodes. Some of the tricks you can use are:

– Make the child sleep at proper time

– Talk to your child about school or what is bothering them

– Make them listen to soothing music before they sleep

– Be informed about the side-effects of the medicines your child is taking

– During an episode gently take them back to the bed

– Try waking up the child during the episode to make their mind aware of the condition.

Like every other disorder, this too should be treated as such and not as some sort of a taboo condition. Sleepwalking can happen to any child and even adults. What’s more important is to make that person aware of the condition and take measures to keep them safe. If the problem increase to dangerous levels then consult a doctor immediately without giving it a second thought.

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