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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jul, 2008  Reply with quote


Sleepwalking is a fairly common condition surrounded with mystery and confusion. Is it a virus, a wives tale, a demonic possession? Well, to tell the truth it is none of these. In reality it is a sleep disorder, also known as somnambulism, noctambulism, or noninsane automatism.

The Sleep Disordered engages in activities s/he would normally do in waking life. Some such incidents include: eating, bathing, urinating, ejecting fecal matter, dressing, whistling, or even driving a car. In some rare cases such as Albert Tirrell, people have used sleepwalking as an excuse to get out of crimes, such as murder. Sleepwalkers are not aware of their actions, and don’t remember the incident in the morning. This is the central reason that some people go months, or even years, without knowing that they have this disorder.

Those most susceptible to this condition are children from the ages of eleven to twelve, though highly stressed and/or anxious adults are susceptible as well. Also, males are more prone to sleepwalking than females. The reason children are more susceptible is that the younger you are, the longer your slow wave sleep (SWS) lasts, and sleepwalking is most likely to occur during SWS. Over 18% of the world’s population has sleepwalking disorder. A common misconception is that the afflicted person is acting out his/her dream. This is completely false, as the episodes occur in stage three or four sleep, long before rapid eye movement (REM the ‘Dream Stage’ of sleep).

If you witness a person sleepwalking, the safest thing to do is to guide them back to bed. They may attempt to rise again to continue their previous course of action. If they are cleaning, for example, you should help them clean, or tell them, “It’s all cleaned up.” This can help them feel as though they’ve accomplished their task.

When does sleep talking occur? When one is dreaming, or not dreaming, or both?

Well, sleep talking can occur in any part of sleep, either NREM or REM. According to SleepEducation.com, "It is still unknown if the talking is closely linked to dreaming.

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