April 29, 2012
It was a night to be remembered. We were all awakened by a loud sound when my sister tripped while walking asleep. Yes! That was the first time it happened. Unconscious and probably still snoring, she tripped and fell on the ground. Luckily, my other sister, thanks to her fast reflexes, immediately got a hold of her head. The moment she woke up, we asked for an explanation, but she claims to have no memory of what just happened.
This incident is associated with a disorder called Somnabulism, which is commonly known as Sleepwalking. Sleepwalking occurs when we are in our deep sleep (also known as slow-wave sleep) and during our non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. According to Antonio Olivero, a neurologist in Spain, this disorder happens when our physiological systems commands our muscles to move. It can occur to anyone of us, but it’s been said that this disorder is most common amongst children from ages 5-12 commonly.
Sleepwalking can be hereditary. If your parents or twin has a history of sleepwalking, there’s a bigger possibility that you’ll be subject to it also. Sleep deprivation, stressful work, excessive alcohol consumption, taking drugs such as sedatives and stimulants, will make you more prone to sleepwalking. Another factor is your medical condition. One is susceptible to sleepwalking when they experience night convulsion, high fever, and the lack of magnesium. Lastly, physiological factors like psychiatric disorder, seizures, and the likes can also constitute to sleepwalking.
Actions done by a sleepwalker is not only limited to well, walking. Sometimes, a sleepwalked can end up driving, calling, doing chores etc. If not disturbed, sleepwalkers often go back to their comfy beds and peacefully return to their “normal sleep”. When awakened, they won’t have any memory of things they did during their state of sleepwalking.
It is important to take precautions especially when we are around people who sleepwalk. Like most people, our family makes sure that before we sleep, our door is locked from the inside in order to secure my youngest sister. We also sleep near the door just in case her sleepwalking body tries to wander off the room. People surrounded by a sleepwalker should ensure that there are no wires that could trip the sleepwalker. Sharp objects should be hidden while stairs should be blocked off to prevent any serious injuries.
Although sleepwalking is naturally not harmful, one should consider seeking medical help if they engage in violent behaviors as they sleepwalk.