Sleepwalking is a disorder that causes you to act while asleep. Most people grow out of it by adolescence. Those who suffer from more severe cases may be prescribed medication.
It is a common belief that waking up sleepwalkers can be very dangerous while they are in the unconscious, moving stage.
However, this may not actually be the case. We have uncovered all the dangers associated with sleepwalkers, and what you should do when you encounter someone sleepwalking.
Carry on reading to find out the dangers of waking up a sleepwalker!
Is It Dangerous To Wake A Sleepwalker?
The bottom line is that it isn't entirely dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker. Sleepwalkers do not have heart attacks when they wake up, something that is often believed, and they won't get brain damage or fall into a coma either.
However, what can be dangerous is when they are startled as they are in this sleepwalking state.
Loud noises or someone hitting or grabbing them could cause them to unconsciously react and lash out.
This could end up with them either hurting themselves or the person trying to wake them up. They will have no control over themselves, so anything they do is completely from a defensive and basic mindset.
What we will say is that sleepwalkers do not pose a danger to themselves or others, whether they are fully asleep or left alone in their sleepwalking state.
However, if they wake up during the night, they should be guided back to their beds.
Sleepwalking is a common problem among young people. It usually starts around the age of four and peaks around eight years old.
Sleepwalking often happens when you're tired or stressed out. Try to ease your child back to bed without forcing him/her to stay awake.
If that doesn't work, just watch carefully to make sure your child is safe.
What Happens If You Wake Up A Sleepwalker?
It is believed that sleepwalking affects as many as 1 in every 100 people. Children tend to sleepwalk more frequently than adults.
Sleepwalking occurs most frequently during the first stage of sleep when you're dreaming. You might also experience sleep paralysis, which means you wake up but can't move.
A person might go to the restroom, walk downstairs, or do other complex tasks while sleeping.
Sleepwalking episodes usually last about four hours, after which the person will often fall back asleep and wake up the next day without any memory of having done anything unusual.
Sleepwalking episodes can be frightening for people who witness them. If you live with a sleepwalker, you may wonder what would happen if you woke him/her up.
A sleepwalker may be disoriented, frightened, or even violent when woken up. These types of feelings may cause them to unintentionally lash out at the person trying to wake them up.
How Do I Safely Wake Up A Sleepwalker?
You shouldn't try to wake up a sleepwalker, 'safely' or not. The worst thing you can do is make loud noises or purposefully startle them, as their innate reaction will be to lash out in their sleep.
The main thing you should do in this situation is to try and softly guide them back to bed.
When they are safely lying down again, they should fall back to sleep in an undisturbed manner.
How Can I Help Without Waking Up A Sleepwalker?
There are ways to prevent danger when someone is sleepwalking. First, you should secure doors and windows, but do not block fire escape routes.
Second, remove sharp or other dangerous objects from the bedroom, and clear tripping hazards, such as loose cords and clutter.
People who are genetically prone to sleepwalking should try to avoid stressful situations before going to bed.
They should also follow a calming bedtime routine. And they should adopt healthy sleep hygiene habits such as avoiding caffeine after noon or napping during the day.
Sleepwalking is usually harmless. But if you notice that your loved one is sleepwalking regularly, or if it's becoming problematic, talk to your doctor about scheduling awakenings.
Why Do Some People Sleepwalk?
Sleepwalking is caused by a lack of sleep. Stress most definitely makes it worse, however, as your worries in real life may manifest in strange ways while you are asleep.
Other members of your close family may also suffer from sleepwalking, as sleepwalking can actually be hereditary.
While you are fairly likely to experience sleepwalking in your life if one of your parents also has the condition, you are incredibly likely to sleepwalk if both parents do.
Sleepwalking episodes occur when people are asleep. People who suffer from sleepwalking episodes may be awake but unaware of what they're doing.
They may walk around without knowing why they're doing this. This disorder causes people to act out dreams while they're sleeping.
Some of these behaviors include walking, talking, eating, and drinking. These acts usually happen when the person is asleep, and they often do them without realizing it.
Taking steps to prevent some triggers – such as getting enough sleep, and working out strategies to deal with and lower stress – will typically help, but there is also evidence that certain people may be more sensitive to them than others.
When To Get Medical Advice
Sleepwalking episodes are common among children. They frequently happen during the night and may last up to an hour.
They are harmless and generally get better over time. However, if sleepwalking occurs frequently, or if it starts in adulthood, then you should see your doctor.
Sleep centers are places where people go when they need help sleeping better. Sleep studies can be done to see if there is anything wrong with your sleep.
A doctor might suggest you get some tests done to make sure nothing else is going on.
Treatments For Sleepwalking
Sleepwalkers should try to go to bed around the same time every night. Their bedrooms should be dark and quiet.
Limit drinks before bedtime, especially those containing caffeine. Go to the restroom before going asleep.
Find ways to relax before going asleep, such as taking a hot bath, reading, or deep breathing.
If your child sleepwalks at the same time every night, try gently waking them for a short while before they would usually sleepwalk.
This may stop them from sleepwalking by altering their normal sleep cycle.
Sleepwalking is a common problem for people who suffer from depression. Antidepressants can help relieve symptoms of depression and therefore improve sleep.
CBT helps patients learn how to control negative thoughts and emotions. Hypnotherapy helps patients relax and focus during sleep.
Sleepwalking is a common issue among people who suffer from insomnia. People who experience this condition typically do not know why they are acting out during these episodes.
Waking them up might cause them to injure themselves, so you should gently try to guide them back to their bed. This will hopefully allow them to re-enter a full sleep.