There are so many sleep ailments out there, that some tend to get overlooked. One such ailment that is often put into a comical category is sleepwalking. While the very idea of sleepwalking does present a humorous element, serious sleepwalking is no laughing matter. According to Aasmnet, sleepwalking occurs in 17% of adults and 4% of all children. Those are high percentages but there are ways to prevent sleepwalking in its tracks.
WebMD has many solutions for sleepwalking but first there are ways to prevent minor cases of sleepwalking from even starting.
While there is no known way to absolutely prevent sleepwalking; there, certain steps can be taken to minimize a person’s risk of it. These include:
- Get enough sleep.
- Get the right amount of REM sleep (deep sleep for at least 8 hours a night).
- Limit stress as much as possible, especially before bed. Try meditating, yoga or doing relaxation exercises.
- Avoid any kind of stimulation (auditory or visual) prior to bedtime. That means avoid bright lights, loud TVs, etc.
Treatment for Severe Sleepwalkers
For some people, attempting to prevent sleepwalking is just not enough. These people suffer with severe somnambulism (sleepwalking in science terms). For those intense cases, there are some medical treatments to avoid taking a snoozy stroll.
- Trazodone (Desyrel)
The best thing about medical treatment for sleepwalkers is that for the most part, medical use can be discontinued after just several weeks of sleeping through the night without walking. While sleepwalking may increase right after being taken off the medicine, it should subside.
Other Treatment Options for Sleepwalkers
Yoga poses, relaxation techniques, mental imagery, and anticipatory awakenings are the preferred treatment options for long-term treatment of people with a sleepwalking disorder. For those children who sleepwalk, anticipatory awakenings consist of waking the child or person approximately 15-20 minutes before the usual time of a sleepwalking episode, and then keeping him or her awake through the time during which the episodes usually occur.
Others use hypnosis to stop from sleepwalking, conducted by a professional. This literally trains your brain not to sleepwalk.
Follow-up with your sleep disorders specialist if symptoms persist, or if injury to self or to others occurs.
Outlook for Sleepwalkers
Although disruptive and frightening in the short term, sleepwalking is not usually a serious disorder. The condition can often be treated effectively. Perhaps the most dangerous thing about sleepwalking is what the person will walk into. If you live with or are a known sleepwalker, make sure stairways and open doors are blocked before going to sleep at night. Take all precautions necessary when it comes to sleepwalking. If you must stop a sleepwalker, make sure to do it gently. The old wive’s tale, “never wake a sleepwalker” actually does hold true. Try to gently turn the sleepwalker around in the direction of their bed.
Make sure you are sleeping on comfortable bedding and a talalay mattress for extra comfort and support throughout the night. Hopefully, you’ll be so comfortable on your mattress, you won’t have the urge to sleepwalk!
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