Do your parents sleepwalk at night? Here’s what you need to do

Do you know that if your parent sleepwalks at night, then it could be a sign of stress?
Sleepwalking is the body’s way to signal that something is majorly wrong. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Nikita Bhardwaj Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 15:57 pm IST
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Have you ever wondered how your parent(s) reached some other corner of the house in the morning, when they slept on their own bed last night? Well, there can be two reasons – one could be that they weren’t able to sleep in their room and two, they might be sleepwalking. 

Sleepwalking or somnambulism is a sleep disorder that occurs in the part of your non-rapid eye movement sleep. It occurs in mostly one or two hours of sleep. Although, there are certain authorities that don’t consider it to be a disorder, it’s a cause for concern, if the episodes are frequent.

According to Dr. Rajnish Kumar, senior consultant and unit head neurology at Paras Hospital Gurugram, sleepwalking is very common in teenagers, children, and the elderly.

During sleepwalking, your parent(s) might sit, walk, or even try to do some ordinary tasks. What’s shocking is that their eyes are wide open, while they are sleepwalking. There are chances that they might not even remember what they were doing, because during that stage, they were in deep sleep.

Stress can make the situation worse for you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
The major reasons for sleepwalking are:

1. Stress and anxiety.
2. Sleep destruction due to constant travel.
3. It can also be genetic.
4. Chronic migraine could also be a reason.
5. If your parent(s) suffer from breathing disorders, then sleepwalking can happen.
6. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) i.e. if there is an uncomfortable burning sensation in the gut.
7. Even certain medications can cause sleepwalking.

Here’s how you can deal with your parent(s), if they are walking in their sleep
1. Make a log

It means that if a person sleeps at 10 o’clock and s/he sleepwalks at 12 o’ clock, then try to monitor their regular time. Try to be prepared 15 minutes before the usual time, and check if disrupting the sleepwalking pattern causes interruption in the sleep cycle or not. If yes, then you can stop the person from sleepwalking.

2. Ensure they get peaceful sleep without any disturbance

Ensure that there is no noise around their room, and don’t try to wake them up if they are asleep.

3. Reduce their intake of caffeine

“Ensure that they don’t take caffeine around their bedtime, as it can affect their sleep,” warns Dr Kumar.

Ask your parents to avoid coffee before they hit the bed. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Playing soft or soothing music before bed time can also be helpful.
Is sleepwalking dangerous?

According to Dr Kumar, sleepwalking is mostly not dangerous. But it can be problematic if the person hurts him/herself by walking near furniture/stairs.

“Patients can have abnormal daytime sleepiness, due to sleep disturbances. Also, people can disturb other members’ sleep, which is another trouble,” says Dr Kumar.

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Here’s when you should see a doctor

“First of all, try all the above-mentioned tips to deal with sleepwalking, and if it still persists and happens frequently, then visit a doctor to monitor the person,” concludes Dr Kumar.

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About the Author

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content. ...Read More

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