Somnambulism (sleepwalking) is a weird phenomenon where people wake halfway in their sleep and walk around, and they will continue their sleep after a while. When they wake up the next morning, they are not even aware of what has happened during their sleep. They can’t remember anything! The experts have concluded that sleepwalking is neither an illness nor a mental disorder. Instead, it is due to the underdevelopment of one’s cerebral nerve. The symptom will disappear naturally as one grows up and his or her central nervous system is fully developed. A research study from Stamford University shows that about 4% of adults have the experience of sleepwalking in their childhood days or before they turned 15. Sleepwalking is more commonly found in males than in females, and it happens mostly among children or youth who are below 15.
Studies discover that sleepwalking usually occurs when one enters his or her 3rd-4th stage of deep sleep. These are stages where people will not have dreams; hence sleepwalking has nothing to do with walking in dreams. At these stages, our brain is stuck between the junction of sleeping and awakening. An Italian neurologist suggested that the reason why sleepwalking happens is because the part of the brain which is in charge of reasoning and thinking is put to sleep, while the other part of the brain which is in charge of limbs and body movements are active. Therefore, this condition where one is neither sleep nor awake is what we call sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking is usually harmless under normal condition. However, while the person is sleepwalking, he or she is under an irrational state, and he or she might cause harms to others. Parents have to pay attention to their home’s surrounding and safety if they have children with sleepwalking problem. They have to put away their knives and any dangerous items, and close their doors and windows as well, in order to prevent their children from hurting themselves.
The most important thing, of course, will be nurturing a good sleeping habit and to have enough times of relaxation, to avoid overworking, pressure or any stressful situation. Nevertheless, if the frequency of sleepwalking increases and the condition gets worse, you might need to seek for proper treatment from some professional medical doctors.