Don’t we all want to get a peaceful sleep? This is to help our body rest from a stressful day from work and be able to do more and just be productive the next day. But not all of us get that peaceful sleep at night.
There are a lot of people all around the world experience different kinds of sleep disturbance. Some are having a hard time sleeping for five to eight hours straight.
And one of the common sleep-hindering problems is sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is also known as somnambulism, and it is not dangerous to anyone’s health. But it can put the person in danger.
He or she might bump on to something while they are sleepwalking or they might fall from a flight of stairs.
According to research, children tend to get more sleepwalking experience, but they will eventually outgrow it. But there are also a number of adults who experience sleepwalking as well.
Most especially if it runs within the family. You will not know that you are sleepwalking not unless you found yourself waking up in the different part of the house. Or somebody witnessed your sleepwalking episode. Not everyone has reported their experience in sleepwalking.
This is because they are unaware of the event. There are people who are suffering from a psychiatric disorder, like depression; post-traumatic disorders, and stress, suffer sleepwalking.
Another thing about sleepwalking is that it is associated not just by walking. There are some people who talk while they are sleepwalking at the same time. There is also a case where children who sleepwalk tend to urinate in closets and other places.
A sleepwalker can also be violent and can scream because of sleep terrors. Anyone who has a relative who sleepwalks must adjust to the situation. There are a lot of ways in order to cope with the sleepwalker.
This can help the sleepwalker and the ones that they are within keeping them safe from whatever will happen to them during their episode.
Here are some ways to prevent and treat sleepwalking.
Sleep on time
If you have an unusual sleeping pattern, you must try to have it corrected. Our bodies require getting at least six to eight hours of sleep per day. This is to compensate with the amount of energy we burned during the day.
This is to help ourselves to have the right amount of energy to burn the next day. The human body is like an engine, it overheats. And when it happens, it needs to cool down and have it rested.
This is to avoid damage and for it to be used for a long period of time. And as for us, we need the right amount of sleep to keep ourselves healthy. This is also for us to do the things we want to do with full of energy.
Yoga is one of the best exercises for those who want to have peace of mind. It relaxes your mind and body and can give you a good night sleep. Yoga also has the ability to calm your nerves and relaxes your mind.
And when your mind is peaceful, you will no longer have to worry about getting a good night sleep.
Stress is one of the many reasons why sleep is being disturbed. You tend to think about your problems right before you sleep. And because of this, your mind will be exhausted and can lead to sleep interruptions like waking up in the middle of the night or sleepwalking.
A healthy mind can give you the right amount of sleep that you need. And you will wake up the next day without feeling tired.
Avoid gadgets before bedtime
It is not advisable to use any gadgets an hour before you sleep. The screen from your computer, tablet, and phone consist of blue light. This light has the ability to disturb your biological clock or the circadian rhythm.
And if it is disturbed, you will then experience different kinds of sleep disturbance. It is also not healthy for you because it may contribute to different kinds of illnesses.
Like a few of it are cancer, diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease.
Keep the sleeping environment clean
One of the simplest ways of having a good sleep is that you need to keep your sleeping environment clean. A clean room, bed, and pillows can give you the most comfortable sleep you can have.
You will no longer have to worry and think about and wondering where you placed a certain thing in your room. Because you already had it organized.
And as well as having a clean set of beddings can make you feel comfortable as you lay on your bed and be able to relax peacefully.
Lock doors and windows
A complete peaceful sleep experience is to avoid any disturbance from the outside of your sleeping environment. You will have to lock the doors and windows to keep anyone or anything bother your sleep.
You don’t want to be awakened by someone in the middle of your sleep right?
Use blackout window drapes
One of the benefits of blackout window drapes is that even if it is during the day, you can sleep as if it is already evening. Our eyes are very sensitive when it comes to light. And when our eyes can detect a small ray of light, the sleeping can be disturbed.
This is because the light can give energy to the body through the detection of our eyes. It will then be difficult for us to get a good sleep. And with the help of the blackout window drapes whenever you want to sleep if the sun is still up.
Take a sip of tea before bedtime
There are natural ingredients that you can have in order for you to have straight hours of sleep. And you can commonly find these in teas. It is best to have something warm to sip before bedtime.
A cup of tea actually has the ability to reduce anxiety and stress which can lead to a peaceful mind and be able to sleep properly.
List of teas you can drink before sleeping:
- Valerian Tea
- Camomile Tea
- Catnip Tea
- Sleepy Time Tea
- Passion Flower Tea
- Decaf Green Tea
- Hops Tea
Have more omega-3 intakes
Omega-3 can be found mostly in fish. And if you are not really into fish, there are omega-3 supplements that you can take. Omega-3 has a lot of great benefits for the heart and body.
And as well as it can contribute to giving you a good night sleep. It has the ability to activate the melatonin which is also responsible for the circadian rhythm.
Find the right bedroom scent
Having the right bedroom scent can help relax your body so that you will be able to get that good night rest. It is similar when you are having a massage or taking up a Yoga class.
The room always has an essential scent that actually smells good and can help you relax. And if you have this in your own room, you will be able to experience the full relaxation that you really need.
These sleepwalking prevention’s may help the sleepwalker not to walk again. But it doesn’t guarantee that they will never sleepwalk again.
If a sleepwalker is still walking after they have done the different prevention tips, it is time to go to the doctor in order for you to proceed to the next step.
Some doctors recommend medications, and some doctors recommend therapies. It will always depend on how often the sleepwalker’s situation.
Known Treatments for Sleepwalking:
Place a bell on doors and windows
One of the reasons why you need to place bells on doors and windows are for you to know that the sleepwalker’s episode has begun. Another thing is that it can somehow awaken the sleepwalker and for them to stop.
But mostly the partner of the sleepwalker will be the one to awaken and can help monitor the actions of the sleepwalker. He or she can also watch over the sleepwalker and make sure nothing harm will happen during the episode.
Set an impromptu alarm
An impromptu alarm is usually set at midnight or a few hours after the sleepwalker has slept. This is to regulate the sleeping cycle and be able to control the sleepwalking incident.
Benzodiazepine is used as sleeping pills to treat insomnia. It is a full body relaxant that sedates you temporarily. It even relaxes your muscles and can lower your anxieties.
But this kind of drug can’t be bought without a prescription from the doctor. It also has some side effects like it makes you sleepy the next day and can make you feel tired and unproductive.
But it can help with your sleepwalking problem. Since it sedates and relaxes your muscles, you will be in deep sleep. You will also not be able to sleepwalk because your muscles are already deactivated temporarily.
Estazolam is the kind of medicine also known as the sedative-hypnotics drug. It is usually used to treat different kinds of sleep problem like insomnia. It is also prescribed for those who are suffering from sleepwalking.
The reason why this is a good medication for sleepwalking is that it has the ability to calm your brain. It basically allows you to sleep faster and longer without experiencing sleepwalking.
Clonazepam is a medicine that is usually prescribed for those who are suffering from seizures and panic attacks. It has the ability to calm the brain down. It also helps in decreasing the amount of electrical activity of the brain which is responsible for your body to be physically active.
Trazodone is an antidepressant drug. It can decrease the level of anxiety and insomnia to a person suffering from depression. Its job is to restore the balance of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is an element of our body that is responsible for happiness. And since it also has the ability to calm the brain and at the same time provide the right amount of serotonin, sleep will be better than before.
And it can lessen the sleepwalking episodes.
This drug belongs to the category of Benzodiazepine. It is a drug that is used to treat insomnia and it is also a sedative-hypnotic drug that allows you to sleep longer at night.
Relaxation therapy helps you overcome stress and control anxiety symptoms. This is to help you to have a peaceful sleep at night and to avoid and sleep-hindering activities.
It basically relaxes the tensed muscle and brain in order for you to rest properly. When the person is still thinking about the different problems they have, they might have trouble sleeping.
The relaxation therapy process doesn’t allow emptying the mind. But it helps the mind and body to relax and build resistance to stress and anxiety.
Here is a quick guide on How to do self-relaxation therapy in comfort of your home:
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Mental Imagery is a Quasi-Perceptual Experience. It is where all images and experiences are happening within the mind of the patient.
The sleepwalker is being guided by a professional hypnotist.
Hypnosis can be done by a professional or the sleepwalker himself. But it is still best to go to a professional to get it done right. Hypnosis is a deep relaxation that tricks the mind in order for it to change the unwanted activities while asleep.
The anticipatory awakening must be done with a partner who monitors the sleepwalker. It is to wake up the sleepwalker 15 minutes before the usual time of sleepwalking. And keeping them awake for a few minutes before they go back to sleep.
According to research, sleepwalking is pretty normal. It will happen at least once or twice in a person’s life. But there are people who genetically inherited this because it runs in the family.
If you are already aware that you tend to sleepwalk at night, better take the different precautions to avoid any accidents.
And if you have a partner with you, let them help monitor your sleepwalking activities so that you will know what to tell your doctor.
Sleepwalking is not contagious but it can lead to different kinds of accidents and can put oneself to danger. Because the person is unaware of what he or she is doing, there is a possibility that they might harm themselves.
One of the most feared happenings is the accidental death due to sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers have the tendency to do normal things unconsciously. One of which is driving a car, walking around the house, and even turning on and off the lights.
If you have a family member who is suffering from sleepwalking, make sure to do the necessary precautions in order to prevent any sorts of accidents.
Keep the windows and doors locked and make sure the car keys and sharp objects are hidden.
One thing that you should not do to a sleepwalker is to wake them up immediately. This will startle them and has the tendency to be violent.
In order to keep them safe, just watch over them on whatever they are doing. And slowly lead them back to the bedroom because they will eventually return to their bed.
Your job as the non-sleepwalker is to make sure that the sleepwalker is safe during the episode of sleepwalking.
There is a difference between a normal sleepwalker and a sleepwalker with psychiatric disorders. Normal sleepwalker can be treated easily with a few therapies and simple medications.
But for those who are suffering from psychiatric disorder must have a special medication and treatment. And according to Brain – A Journal of Neurology, chronic sleepwalkers have sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).
There is a surgical way to treat SDB which is one of the procedures to lessen the sleepwalking episodes.
We all wanted to have a good night sleep. But we can’t do this if we are suffering from sleep disorders like sleepwalking. Taking action as soon as possible can be very helpful for us and for our partners.
It will not just help us have a good night sleep but lessen the hassle we give to our partners whenever we sleepwalk. Different medications and therapies are already available for everyone who suffers from sleepwalking.
Consulting a doctor can help us on what to do first in order to lessen the episodes and then hope for it to stop from happening. There is no significant treatment that can completely eliminate sleepwalking.
But knowing the proper sleep hygiene can help lessen the occurrence of sleepwalking.
If you have an experience about sleepwalking, please feel free to share them on our comments bellow. Don’t worry; you are not the only one who is experiencing it. Let us learn more about it together.
Written by: Dr. Zariyana Gutterbeckh
Zariyana Gutterbeckh, PhD. a psychology graduate from Ruhr University of Bochum. She wrote for webmd.com and sleepfoundation.org in the past 3 years. She is not just a licensed psychologist, but she is also a yoga practitioner and an environmentalist.