What Causes Sleepwalking in Children? How does it go?

Whether it’s a movie or real life, we’ve all witnessed sleepwalking at some point in our lives. But when it comes to a person’s child, he becomes sensitive to everything. What is sleepwalking, which is one of the leading sleep disorders, why is it and how is it treated? We’re telling!

What is sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking, also called sleep walking, is a problem that occurs during the deepest stage of NREM sleep (the first sleep period of the night). It is not considered a disease or psychiatric disorder. Although it’s called sleepwalking, some kids don’t really walk around, they just sit in their beds.

How long does sleepwalking last?

It usually takes between 1-10 minutes. At the end of the stroll, the children return to their beds and seem to sleep again, but in fact they never wake up. If your child has this condition, you may find that when you wake up in the morning, you often don’t remember walking in your sleep.

When does sleepwalking happen?

It occurs in the first hours after falling asleep, that is, in the first stage of sleep. At this time, the dream is not started, but one wakes up from a deep sleep. The child wants to wake up at this stage, but because he cannot do this, he starts sleepwalking.

At what age does sleepwalking occur in children?

It is commonly seen between 3 and 7 years of age and disappears by the age of 15. One-third of children are thought to have been sleepwalking at some point. It is more common in boys than girls.

What is the sleepwalking child doing?

  • At the beginning of sleepwalking, the child gets out of bed and makes unnecessary and repetitive movements.
  • It starts to wander aimlessly.
  • Doesn’t answer questions.
  • While his eyes are blank and fixed, he continues to wander unhindered.
  • He can be extremely angry and break things in the house.
  • He voluntarily goes back to bed as if nothing had happened. Some accidents can happen before they go back to bed.
  • After waking up, he can’t remember anything he’s experienced.

What are the causes of sleepwalking?

No one knows what causes sleepwalking, but it’s thought to have a genetic link. So if you’re walking in your sleep, your child is likely to walk too.

According to experts, factors such as febrile illnesses or psychological trauma can increase the severity of the disease or trigger its emergence. Changes in routine sleep patterns, excessive sleeplessness, intense stress, and the use of certain medications are among the things that can cause sleepwalking.

What is sleepwalking treatment?

If it is deemed appropriate to treat your child for sleepwalking, first of all, it is necessary to apply treatment for the factors that cause psychological stress. If the problem is recurring too often, electrophysiological examination of sleep can be done. If necessary, the doctor may also administer medication.

But let’s add this: In general, most children stop sleepwalking on their own as they get older. While it can be alarming to see your little one walking in their sleep, remember that this is a very common problem. Once you’ve secured her safety, you have nothing to worry about.

What precautions can you take against sleepwalking?

Experts have different opinions on this matter. Sarah Ockwell’s “Why Doesn’t My Child Sleep?” Here are his recommendations in the book:

  • If your child is walking in his sleep, do not put him on the bunk.
  • Have a door at the top of the stairs in your home so you can be sure that you won’t fall out while you’re sleeping.

Dr. Here are the recommendations of Harvey Karp in “The Happiest Baby in the Neighborhood’s Sleep Book”:

  • By using a sliding window or door, you can prevent your little one from getting out easily. Also remove dangerous objects. 
  • If you catch your little one walking in their sleep, calmly take them back to bed, speaking very little in a soft voice. Singing rather than talking to calm it down often seems to work better. It is very important to act calmly, it is extremely wrong to warn your child by speaking out loud.

While it’s hard to completely stop this phenomenon, there are a few small tricks you can do to reduce it:

  • Keep your little one away from chocolate or other stimulants, including antihistamines, decongestants, and caffeinated beverages.
  • Try to figure out if you can get him to sleep more. Longer naps or earlier bedtime choices can help.
  • If sleep talking or walking occurs every night, wake your little one within an hour of falling asleep. Doing so may end parasomnia by re-adjusting your sleep cycle.
  • Parasomnia: A general name for sleep disorders.
  • Antihistamine: A drug used in the treatment of various diseases. Its side effect is drowsiness.
  • Decongestants: A drug used in the treatment of various diseases. Its side effects cause irritability in the person and cause insomnia.

Resources:

  • The Happiest Baby in the Neighborhood’s Sleep Book-Dr. Harvey Karp
  • Why My Child Doesn’t Sleep – Sarah Ockwell-Smith
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