Sleepwalking, also formally called somnambulism, is a disorder that causes people to get up, walk, and do complex things while they are still asleep. It happens much more frequently in children than in adults, and it usually happens if a person is sleep-deprived.
Most of the time, someone who is sleepwalking remains in deep slumber throughout this, which makes them difficult to awaken during an episode. Their eyes may be open or closed. They are also completely unaware about the whole sleepwalking incident after they wake up.
You may know someone who walks in their sleep, or you may be a sleepwalker yourself. If anyone in your household has this condition, it is essential to keep them safe from any form of potential harm and injury. Below are some tips on how you can help prevent or stop someone from sleepwalking.
Simple Ways to Prevent Sleepwalking
Consulting a doctor might result in getting a prescription medication for your sleeping problem. But if you are looking for treatment options aside from medication, here are some for a night of quality sleep and to reduce the chances of sleepwalking:
1. Check for whether you have sleep apnea
About 10% of people with obstructive sleep apnea experience symptoms of parasomnia, including sleepwalking. It would be a good idea to ask a doctor about having a sleep study, which would analyze and document your behaviors while you sleep. If it is determined that you do have sleep apnea, there are ways to treat the condition and put an end to your sleepwalking.
2. Look for patterns
Try to be aware of specific things that trigger your sleepwalking. After an episode strikes, think about whether you were sleep-deprived before it happened. Ask family members or roommates about how long it lasted and what you did during sleepwalking.
3. Balancing medication
If you are taking some type of medication, sleepwalking might be one of its side effects. Look at the warnings and information about the medicine; if it doesn’t mention possible sleep issues, contact your doctor.
4. Follow a consistent bedtime routine
One of the causes of sleepwalking is lack of sleep and fatigue, so it is important to get plenty of sleep. If you have been sleeping less than seven hours every night, start going to bed earlier and see if that helps.
Try to do something at night that will help you get the best sleep possible. It may be reading a book before bed, taking a warm bath, or setting aside your phone and other gadgets that cause light to flicker in your bedroom.
5. Lessen alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine intake
Alcohol can make you feel tired and dizzy at first, but it can negatively impact your sleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that increase your heart rate and speed up bodily functions, so it is best to steer away from those in the afternoon and evening.
6. Make your bedroom the best place to sleep
Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, cool, and cozy can help prevent you from sleepwalking. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, try to use earplugs or buy a quiet white-noise maker that can help blur out extraneous sounds.
It might also help if you lower the temperature inside your room, so your face will be cool while the rest of your body stays warm under the covers. The same goes for the lights: It is best to turn them off or at least keep them dim.
Natural Methods for Preventing Sleepwalking
There are several natural ways to help stop your sleeping problems, including the following:
- Diffuse essential oils in the air of the bedroom such as lavender.
- Increase your intake of calcium and magnesium.
- Drink caffeine-free tea before bedtime.
Many people also take melatonin before bedtime in order to help them sleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps the body respond naturally to darkness and enables a proper circadian rhythm, and your body may need more melatonin to help you achieve restful sleep.
Sleep Doctors in North Texas
Sleepwalking brings the risk of getting hurt or causing harm to others. When home remedies or natural ways of preventing it do not work, consult a sleep specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment.
There might be an underlying health condition that is causing your sleepwalking, which is why it is best to be evaluated by a pulmonologist. This physician can treat the underlying disorder so you can get back to having a restful sleep.
If you would like to learn more about sleep disorders, contact our team at Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas. Call us today at (817) 594-9993 or request an appointment online now, and let us help you get the quality sleep you need and deserve.