December 08, 2020 5 min read

If you’ve ever seen someone sleepwalking, then you know how strange, eerie, terrifying, or hysterical it can be. You might find yourself trying to explain to your still asleep daughter why it’s not time to go to gymnastics at 11:30 PM. Or maybe your husband wakes you up talking about the boat he wants to sail down the Nile River.

Perhaps you’re the one causing a scene in the middle of the night. Whatever the case, sleepwalking can be scary for both the sleepwalker and family and friends.

This strange phenomenon typically affects more children than adults, with the peak occurrence between the ages of 10 and 13.

How to Stop Sleepwalking

If sleepwalking is only an occasional occurrence, you don’t have to worry much about treating it. Most times, childhood sleepwalking diminishes by the time kids become teenagers.

But if sleepwalking is a nightly event, it could be dangerous. It could lead to injury, embarrassment, and the disruption of getting a good night’s sleep. As far as treatment goes, focus on making things safe for your sleepwalking child and do your best to determine what might be triggering it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘cure’ for sleepwalking. But there are some ways you can try to reduce the number of instances.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘cure’ for sleepwalking. But there are some ways you can try to reduce the number of instances.

  • Create a Safe Environment:Lock all doors and windows. Consider installing new locks up high to prevent children from unlocking them. If you have stairs, install baby gates to ensure children (or adults) don’t fall down the stairs. Make sure your floor is free from clutter to avoid tripping. It might be a good idea to install an alarm or bell of some sort on your child’s door to alert you when they wander out of their room.
  • Medication: Typically, medicine to treat sleepwalking in kids isn’t recommended. But if it’s you or another adult, then it may help. If there’s a whole lot of wandering around the house talking about hippos in tutus or exclaiming how important a trip to Las Vegas is at this very moment, then talk to your doctor about possible medication options.

Just take note of the possible side effects, because sleep medicine has been known to have some doozies.

  • Adjust Existing Medication:Speaking of medication, sleepwalking could be a side effect. To see if this is the cause of the nighttime trips around the house, check with your doctor about adjusting your prescribed dose.(Don’t change anything without consulting your doc, though!)
  • Eliminate That Late-Night Cocktail:Drinking alcohol at night can disrupt sleep stages. This limits your body’s ability to enter REM sleep, which is the most restorative. That nightly nightcap has also been linked to increasing the risk of sleepwalking.
  • Sleep Under a Weighted Blanket:The correct high-quality weighted blanket should be  just the right weight and size to supply the perfect amount of Deep Pressure Stimulation. Under a weighted blanket, you’ll naturally feel more relaxed while your body releases a higher level of serotonin and melatonin. That’ll bring you into deep, restorative sleep faster.
  • Because weighted blankets can help you stay in that deeper sleep stage longer, you have less chances to sleepwalk throughout the night. While they can’t cure sleepwalking, since there really is no cure, weighted blankets help reduce the number of times you or someone you love puts themselves in danger.

Causes of Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking, or somnambulism happens when you don't completely wake from deep, wonderfully-restorative, glorious Stage 3 sleep. The term “sleepwalking” is slightly misleading because sleepwalkers don’t always walk. Some sit or stand up in bed and start having a conversation with invisible people in the room or banter on about the need to find the missing part of their magic trick to show mom and dad. (True story.)

There are several causes associated with sleepwalking. Some you can avoid, some you can’t.

Genetics

 


We all know we can’t outrun our genetics. Some people get mom’s wide feet. Some people get aunt Nancy’s tendency to sleepwalk. Studies reveal a genetic pattern within sleepwalking in kids.

If both parents have a history of sleepwalking, their child is 61% more likely to do the same. If only one parent has been found sleepwalking in their life, their child is 47% more likely to sleepwalk.

You may think sleepwalking in kids who have parents with zero history would mean the same for them. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Even if they have two parents who’ve never done it, 22% of them will still sleepwalk.

Infographic showing a child sleepwalking while holding a stuffed bunny. It says,

Stress

In any of its emotional or physical forms, stress is one of the leading causes of sleepwalking. Stress from work or your personal life, dealing with an illness, or even just sleeping in a new, unfamiliar place could cause sleepwalking.

If this has been the case for you in the past, take the appropriate precautions by de-stressing before bedtime. Turn off screens, use some lavender essential oils, and cuddle up under a weighted blanket.

Sleep Deprivation

This is one of the preventable causes of sleepwalking. (Well, usually.) Although it seems counterintuitive, when you deprive your body of adequate sleep, you subject yourself to a higher chance of sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking typically occurs during the non-REM (NREM) stage of sleep. NREM is the third stage of the sleep cycle, right before you fall into REM sleep, which is the deepest sleep stage. Each night, you go through the sleep cycle several times.

When you’re finally able to get some Z’s after being sleep deprived, you’re more likely to enter NREM3 more often. This gives you more chances to take an evening stroll while sleeping.

Fever

Fevers are a significant cause of sleepwalking in kids. This could be because they are less likely to enter into REM sleep, enter NREM3 more often. This is the stage of sleep where sleepwalking happens.

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

If you’ve experienced this annoying sleep disorder, you’ll understand why it might keep you from entering REM. RLS makes you feel an overwhelming urge to have to move your limbs while laying down, typically your legs. Like many other sleepwalking causes, RLS is likely to keep you more often in NREM3 than REM sleep.

So Why Should Those Prone to Sleepwalking Use a Weighted Blanket?

Weighted blankets have many mental and physical health benefits. They help calm anxiety and depression and gently soothe you into a peaceful night’s sleep through Deep Pressure Stimulation. While they aren’t a cure for sleepwalking, they can help you feel more relaxed about going to sleep. They’ll also help you stay in REM sleep longer, minimizing your sleepwlking instances.

Keep in mind, not all weighted blankets are made with high-quality standards in mind. Make sure you find one made of the finest materials and crafted to perfection. That way, you’ll get the most benefit. You’ll enjoy a better night’s rest and limit sleepwalking.

Rather than relying on medications with negative side effects, using a weighted blanket is a natural way to limit sleepwalking. With weighted blankets, there are no harmful side effects at all!


Get a better night’s sleep? Keep you and your loved one’s safer from sleepwalking naturally? What’s the downside?


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