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Sleep Problems 101


For most people, sleepwalking conjures a picture of some Hollywood movie where the sleepwalker, eyes glazed, arms stretched out in front, walks in a rigid, monsterlike fashion, unaware of their actions.

While film dramatizes the actual disorder of sleepwalking, some characteristics apply. For instance, sleepwalkers appear awake (their eyes are open) but are actually in the deepest phase of sleep (stage four). They may be able to navigate around objects and in some cases perform basic tasks such as opening a door. And, sleepwalkers may become combative if they are restrained.

Researchers believe that sleepwalking has a genetic link and results from an incomplete development of the brain in certain individuals. Stress, fever, sleep deprivation, and epilepsy are known triggers for sleepwalking. Approximately four percent of adults have consulted doctors about sleepwalking. Yet it appears to be more common among children. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of children aged 5 to 12 have at least one episode of sleepwalking.

In most cases, sleepwalking ends on its own after adolescence. Treatment for older children and adults may include a variety of medications as well as hypnotherapy. Adults who sleepwalk may be suffering posttraumatic stress disorder or other psychiatric illness that may require treatment with prescription medications, hypnotherapy, stress-management techniques, and psychotherapy.

Like sleepwalking, night terrors also afflict people while they are fully asleep. Learn what this condition is and how it differs from nightmares.

For more information on how to get a good night's sleep, see:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.