Sleepwalking is a form of sleep disorders. The sleepwalker, immersed in deep sleep, is unaware of his condition and has no memory of what he is doing during the episode. Deep sleep is a phase of the sleep cycle where consciousness does not react to external events. This is why the individual never wakes when he is shaken.
The sleepwalker performs a series of complex behaviors in his sleep. He can just sit on his bed and stare around him, wander from one room to another, out of the house and travel long distances ... The individual can sometimes make senseless gestures, such as urinating in a room. cupboard. But most often, the behaviors of the person are perfectly ordered. The individual is actually guided by his subconscious. For example, he goes to places where he knows the route and possibly, whose unconscious memories are engraved in his psyche. It is therefore rare that a sleepwalker collides with a wall or is mistaken when suddenly leaving the house The episode actually occurs at a phase of the sleep cycle where the subconscious manages almost everything, including psychic functions.
The memories that guide the individual are above all unconscious information, most often repressed for a long time. It is not uncommon to see a patient go to a place he does not know (at least in the present moment), a place that is alien to his surroundings as well. In this case, the most likely explanation is that this place was once the theater of a drama that deeply traumatized it. And the weight of the trauma is such that it is repressed in his unconscious for several years. These feelings buried in the subconscious always end up rising to the surface, causing psychological complications whose sleep disorders are only manifestations among others.
Sleep disorders are more common in children and adolescents. This situation generally improves over time. In reality, with age, the duration of deep sleep during a normal sleep cycle is shortened. The prevalence of pathology is much higher especially in children aged 3 to 7 years. There are more important cases in children who suffer from sleep apnea are more exposed than others to sleepwalking. The same is true for children with bedwetting. On the other hand, the onset or persistence of sleepwalking in adulthood is usually associated with underlying psychiatric disorders. Most of the time, sleepwalking is caused by sleep deprivation, sedative agents (including alcohol), febrile illnesses, and certain medications.
Even though sleepwalking occurs during deep sleep, there are also cases where individuals jump from their beds during light sleep, just hours after they go to bed. In this case, the individual in question may be partially excited during the episode.
Whether a patient walks in the house or travels kilometers to unsuspected destinations, this is known since the dawn of time. But the entourage is often disconcerted because taken aback by other more or less disturbing symptoms:
- Talking while sleeping
- The absence of memory of the event
- The virtual impossibility of waking the individual during the crisis
- Inappropriate behaviors such as urinating in closets (more common in children)
- Screaming, especially when sleepwalking occurs in conjunction with sleep terrors
- Physical aggression
There is no treatment specifically for sleepwalking. In many cases, improving sleep hygiene can eliminate the problem. In adults, treatment may include hypnosis. There are even many cases in which hypnotherapy alone has been successful in curing patients. In addition, pharmacological therapies such as hypnotic sedatives or antidepressants have been helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking in some people.
Since sleep deprivation is a trigger for sleepwalking, increasing sleep may be helpful. Experts also recommend establishing a regular and relaxing routine before bedtime. It is also necessary to create a safe sleeping environment to prevent injuries during episodes. For example, a child should not sleep in a bunk bed. It is also necessary to install barriers on stairs and to lock doors and windows ...