Sleepwalking: Causes, Symptoms and Treatmentsomnambulism in children and adolescents

Update: October 2018

Sleep is a habitual to us, but unique condition. AT
this time consciousness is turned off, control of posture and organs
feelings decrease, the processing of the received per day occurs
information. ATнешне все выглядит просто, но на самом деле во время
sleep occurs very complex processes.

AT период ночного отдыха чередуются медленная и быстрая фазы,
and for the duration of the slow prevails in the first half
nights, and fast – the second. ATо время медленной фазы человек внешне
relaxed, calm, hard to wake him up. Fast phase
characterized by chaotic movements of the eyeballs, twitching
arms and legs, changes in muscle tone. AT оба этих периода могут
develop disorders called parasomnias. Brightest and
Mysterious parasomnia is sleepwalking (somnambulism).

What is snooze

It has long been known about people – “lunatics” who at night
perform certain actions without waking up and not reacting to
attempts to wake them up. The nature of this phenomenon is not precisely established.
It is believed that somnambulist disrupts the processes of inhibition in the brain.
brain, which leads to sleepwalking during the transition from the slow phase
sleep fast What makes this phenomenon unique is that
commit acts that are very similar to purposeful: open and
close the doors, shift items, dress. But at the same time
assessment of the surrounding reality is violated. For example, the door to the closet
may be perceived by them as going out. With this connection
dreaming with dreams most likely not, that is, during
episode man does not see a dream. This is proven by a survey.
somnambulist EEG devices.

The prevalence of this phenomenon is quite high: 15-20% of all
children at least once in their life have experienced sleepwalking. It is not always
noticeably, because not all wander around the room and make active
actions, many simply rise in bed, move their arms, and
then calmly go to sleep.

How somnambulism manifests itself

The most common symptoms occur in the first half of the night. Suffering
sleepwalking people can perform some kind of action, rising
in bed. But sometimes he gets up, walks through the apartment, opens and
closes the door. While the eyes are often open, but look
becomes “glass”, not seeing.

AT фильмах периодически показывают «лунатиков», вытянувших вперед
hands and walking along the eaves. Such a picture is uncharacteristic for real
with dreams, usually it ends with a walk around a room or apartment,
then the person returns to bed either calmly allows
bring him to bed.

ATо время эпизода сомнамбула на вопросы не отвечает либо говорит
something vague and out of place, answers on the topic can be heard rarely.
At the end of the attack memory for these events is completely absent.
What is an important sign of sleepwalking.

Sometimes the “lunatic” can be woken up at the time of the descent, but
the reaction can be violent, often startle and excitement,
loss of orientation in space and time, confusion. Attack
rarely lasts more than 5-10 minutes, it is not dangerous to life and health,
except in cases with a balcony, on the street in the winter and so

Why does the phenomenon of somnambulism arise

Among the main causes of sleepwalking in children consider version
immaturity of the nervous system. The developing brain is not yet capable
correctly balance the processes of inhibition and excitation, as
leads to similar attacks. This theory is confirmed by frequent
the combination of parasomnias with enuresis, hyperactivity syndrome and
attention deficit.

The causes of sleepwalking in adults are even worse studied. There is an opinion that
genetic feature of the nervous system in combination with stress and
violation of the regime of work and rest can provoke attacks
parasomnies AT большинстве случаев к моменту взросления они исчезают
fully or extremely rare.


Risk factors

причины лунатизма у детейHereditary

If any of the close relatives suffered from sleepwalking, then
chances of getting the same disorder increase. If both
parents have such a feature, then in 60% of cases their children
inherit walking at night. The risks are especially great for identical

ATоздействие окружающей среды и режима дня

Prolonged lack of rest and psychological stress is detrimental
affect all processes, including the regulation of the brain phases
rest and wakefulness. Permanent change of place and time
falling asleep, forced insomnia or noisy conditions increase
риски эпизодов parasomnies

Medication intake

Narcotic painkillers, sleeping pills, neuroleptics,
tranquilizers and antihistamines can cause
somnambulism in people predisposed to it.

Gender and Age

AT связи с особенностями сна у подростков и детей частота
somnambulism is higher than in adults. The risk of increasing
women during menstruation and during pregnancy.

Diseases often accompanying sleepwalking

  • Arrhythmias (heart rhythm disorders)
  • Reflux from the stomach to the esophagus (heartburn at night)
  • Asthma
  • Night cramps
  • Syndrome obstructive sleep apnea (intermittent respiratory arrest
    during sleep)
  • Various mental disorders and disorders (from lungs
    neurosis to severe disease)

ATсе вышеперечисленные недуги изменяют качество и структуру
night rest, violate the smooth transition from one phase to another, which
can lead to parasomnic phenomena.

Differential diagnosis

So all violations of revival have common features, sometimes
it is difficult to distinguish them from each other.

Night terrors

Sleep disturbances such as night terrors also occur in
the first half of the night, usually in the first 30 minutes and a half hours after
falling asleep. ATозникает такое состояние чаще у детей до 6 лет. They
abruptly sit up in bed with a cry in a state of excitement and fear,
actively move their arms and legs, look scared, while
the pupils are dilated, the heart is beating fast, and sweating is increased.
He does not react to attempts to wake the child, the attack usually lasts
from a few seconds to 5 minutes, then the baby falls asleep. In the morning
no memories of the episode often remain. Similar situations
can be repeated every night, then smoothly disappear.


Every person at least once in his life saw a nightmare in a dream.
Its content may be different: the pursuit of monsters, trouble with
близкими, невозможность пошевелиться, падение с высоты и так Further.
What unites nightmares is one: after the end of a dream, a person abruptly
wakes up, he is excited and scared, the first seconds can be
slightly disoriented. AT эти мгновенья люди часто шевелят ногами и
hands, say some phrases that can be like
somnambulism. But after the nightmare clearness comes back very
quickly, but the bright picture of the dream remains in memory.

Signs of Sleepwalking Night terrors Nightmares Night epileptic seizures
ATремя возникновения AT первую треть ночи AT первую треть ночи AT последнюю треть ночи May occur at any time.
Moving out of bed Often Sometimes Sometimes (после окончания эпизода) Not typical
The degree of excitement, sweating, increased heart rate and respiration Moderate Strong Different Different
Threshold of awakening ATысокий, в случае пробуждения — ажитация ATысокий, в случае пробуждения — ажитация Low, wake after episode ATысокий, пробуждение после окончания эпизода, сознание
ATоспоминания об эпизоде Missing or extremely fuzzy Missing or extremely fuzzy Bright Absent
Oftenта встречаемости Often Seldom Often Seldom

Treatment of sleep episodes

ATсе парасомнии пробуждения являются относительно безобидными.
If walking at night is rare, then they can not pay
attention. Enough to provide a safe environment in the room.
remove items that could cause injury, close tightly
window. With regular repetitions of sleepwalking, you should review
daily regime. Children in this case is useful short day
sleep. ATажно исключить психотравмирующие ситуации в семье и в
collectives that can be provocative factors
susceptible people.

AT случаях, когда частые снохождения нарушают нормальное течение
cause severe daytime sleepiness or represent
health hazard, doctors may prescribe medication
sleepwalking. AT таких ситуациях порой помогают антидепрессанты и
benzodiazepines, but they can be prescribed only

Sometimes для лечения лунатизма у детей предлагают использовать
hypnosis. This is a dubious way, since the harm from night episodes
there may be incomparably less effects of hypnotic
impact. Therefore, similar methods of therapy to use

Principles of healthy sleep baby

  • Sleeping at the same time, at the same time.
  • The difference in the time of lifting and laying to sleep on weekdays and
    weekends should not exceed one hour.
  • An hour before laying it is advisable to create a calm atmosphere.
    without noisy games and loud conversations.
  • ATечером необходимо немного перекусить, чтобы не засыпать
    hungry, but not to overeat.
  • Tea, chocolate and other tonic products are best left to
  • AT спальне должно быть тихо, прохладно и темно (при боязни
    darkness allowed dim nightlight).
  • AT спальне не должно быть телевизора и компьютера.

Family members of a person with this sleep disorder should not think about
how to treat sleepwalking, and how to make an apartment as much as possible
safe. You can keep a diary in which to mark events before
by attack. It is better to close the curtains tightly, securely close the windows and
doors, it is often recommended to hang bells on them capable
wake relatives. If you properly organize the life and regime of a person,
the moments of slipping will become rare with time, and most likely
stop completely

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