What Happens If You Wake Up A Sleepwalker?

Sleepwalking, we’ve all seen examples of it and it can sometimes be quite disturbing. This is a condition when people perform very complicated behavior when they do not appear to even be awake.

But you might have heard a few urban myths that it is actually dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker. The tale goes that if you do then the sleepwalker might be so jolted that they will be driven to insanity or even die on the spot.

So is this rumor true? What exactly happens when you wake up a sleepwalker? When is the right time to wake up a sleepwalker? What is the easiest way of stopping someone from hurting themselves when sleepwalking?

Well, if you want the answer to these questions and more, then you should keep reading.

What Is Sleepwalking?

What is sleep walking, woman sleep walking with arms forward

Sleepwalking is something that will happen during the early hours of sleep. This is also called somnambulism, and it is when the individual will engage in complex actions when they are half-asleep.

This is considered to be a disorder and people who engage in it once will often engage in it a few times during their lifetime. Some people are chronic sleepwalkers and have to be survived carefully when they go to sleep.

How Safe Is It To Wake Up A Sleepwalker?

You might be pleased to know that it is not immediately dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker while they are still asleep. However, you should be aware that there are certain issues that might arise when you wake them up.

When they are waking up, they might appear to be very disorientated. This might cause them some distress as they become accustomed to their surroundings.

In more extreme cases, this might result in lashing out as the person transitions from one set of surroundings to another. If you are going to wake up a sleepwalker for whatever reason, then you should beat this in mind before doing so.

If you are unsure of what to do when you are waking up someone who is sleepwalking, then you should make sure to give them space.

If they are heading towards an area that might cause them injury, then you should make sure they are guided in a different direction to safety.

What Happens If You Wake Up A Sleepwalker?

Why Should You Wake Up A Sleepwalker?

The only reason why you should wake up a sleepwalker is if you think they are headed towards danger without noticing.

For example, if someone you know is heading towards stairs and might fall down and injure themselves, then this might cause you to reach out and wake them up.

However, if you think they are going to walk towards danger, then you can guide them away gently without them having even known they have woken up.

You can even talk to someone who is sleepwalking, although their responses might not make any sense and you might have difficulty in getting through to them. Here are a few things you can do to wake up a sleepwalker:

  1. Guide them back to bed - take them by the elbow and gently lead them back towards the bed. A sleepwalker will usually be very compliant.
  2. Talking - do not talk too harshly to them, as this might jolt them from their state and cause them to lash out. Talk to them gently and encouragingly.
  3. Do not use forceful action - you should make sure not to jolt them, as this might wake them up and cause them to become disorientated.

Helping A Sleepwalker Without Waking

Helping A Sleepwalker Without Waking, man sleep walking while hugging a pillow

There are many things you can do to effectively ‘sleepwalker-proof’ your home. Here are a few of them:

  1. Shut all doors and windows - make sure that all of the exits are blocked off. You might want to lock them also, as they could easily turn the handle and let themselves out.
  2. Cloth the sleepwalker - if the sleepwalking person does get out, then you should be sure that they are clothed, as this might lead to compromising and embarrassing situations.
  3. Keep the bed low - if your sleepwalker tends to get out of bed, then you should be sure that it is kept low so as to avoid injury.
  4. Remove tripping hazards - one of the main things you’ll want to avoid is the sleepwalker falling down the stairs or tripping over and causing themselves serious injury. Sleepwalkers often do not look where they are going, as they are in a semi-conscious state.
  5. Install gates - if you are living with a chronic sleepwalker or sleepwalk chronically yourself, then you might want to install baby safety gates at the tops of stairs and certain rooms.
  6. Install alarms - again, if you are particularly paranoid about sleepwalking when living alone, then you might want to set up sensor-activated alarms that will wake you up when you have strayed too far from your bed.

What Are The Causes Of Sleepwalking?

There could be many triggers for sleepwalking, some of which are a common part of everyday life that can be reduced through exercise or relaxation techniques. Here are just a few causes:

  1. Stress - if you are undergoing a high level of stress over s period of time, then your body might have trouble attaining deep sleep. This is when you might notice your sleepwalking levels going way up.
  2. Noises - if there are frequent noises going on throughout the night, then this might be another trigger for sleepwalking. There are people who have reported very particular high-pitched noises as triggers for sleepwalking.
  3. Sleep deprivation - if you are going through long periods of time without sleeping, then you might suffer from disturbed sleep patterns that could cause you to sleep in the long term.

There are many ways that you could treat sleepwalking, one of the main ones being that you should speak to a doctor to see if you can develop an effective sleep-management plan.


You can indeed wake up sleepwalkers, however, if you can guide them to safety without doing so, then we would recommend this. This is because the sleepwalker might become disorientated and lash out.