Somnambulism: sleepwalking is dangerous! Awaken those affected!

Somnambulism: sleepwalking is dangerous! Awaken those affected!

Somnambulism: sleepwalkers should be awakened - otherwise it can be dangerous
Sleepwalkers get out of bed at night, walk around, or in some cases do more complicated jobs like preparing food or even driving. And all without waking up. People suffering from somnambulism can be dangerous for themselves and for others. According to experts, they should definitely be woken up while sleeping.


Genetic predisposition paired with stress
Sleep walking (somnambulism) is a sleep disorder in which those affected leave the bed, walk around, open windows or perform more complex activities. All without waking up. It is by no means a rare phenomenon. Accordingly, up to 30 percent of all children and two percent of adults occasionally go on such night trips. Your consciousness is asleep while your senses are active. According to researchers, sleepwalking is triggered by a genetic predisposition paired with stress. Somnambulism can be dangerous because those affected cannot assess risks in their work. Contrary to the widespread view that you should not wake the walkers, experts advise according to the "world" exactly the opposite: sleepwalkers should be awakened.

Sleepwalker drives 50 kilometers by car
Sleepwalkers develop their activities in deep sleep. The motor centers are active in these phases, but this does not apply to reasonable thinking and judgment. Affected people can perform movements and sometimes complex actions, but they lack the targeted intention. This can lead to extraordinary events. Matthias Boentert from the University Clinic for Sleep Medicine and Neuromuscular Diseases in Münster reported to the newspaper about a woman who drove 50 kilometers in her car as a sleepwalker. "The whole thing went completely accident-free," explained Boentert, "but of course you don't know what would have happened if she had gotten into a tricky traffic situation."

The sleep disorder usually disappears after puberty
Even if aggressive actions or dangers can sometimes occur, sleepwalking remains harmless in most cases. Often those affected only wander around in the bedroom or do not even leave the bed. Experts disagree as to whether bad sleep on a full moon promotes somnambulism. Many studies have found that full moon phases are not responsible for sleep problems or even sleep walking. But others, such as a study by the Basel chronobiologist Christian Cajochen, nevertheless provide clues. According to “Welt Online”, age plays a significantly larger role in the causal structure. According to this, the sleepwalking rate is 15 percent for schoolchildren, 30 percent for ten-year-olds, but only one to two percent for adults. Sleep specialists believe that the numbers indicate that this awakening disorder is related to brain maturity. According to the information, the disorder disappears in 70 to 80 percent after puberty.

Sleep hygiene needs to be improved
A Canadian study conducted by Jacques Montplaisir from the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur in Montreal shows that the genome also plays a role. As a result, children with one parent who have or have had somnambulism are three times more likely to become sleepwalkers. If the father and mother are affected, the risk increases sevenfold. Genes that regulate deep sleep are apparently involved in the disorder. It is said that the genetic tendency to sleepwalk increases when certain stress factors, such as changing the place to sleep, are added. The risk could also be increased by some medication, fever or an overfilled urinary bladder. "Anything that disturbs sleep in any way," said sleep doctor Boentert, "can make the sleepwalker legs." In his opinion, it is therefore important to first work on sleep hygiene in the therapy of sleep walking.

What can help with sleep disorders
Simple tips and home remedies for sleeping disorders should be avoided before going to bed, for example nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals and excitement, for example in the form of exciting films. The bedroom should be kept dark. Because psychological influences such as anger, stress or mental illnesses such as depression can often trigger sleep disorders, health experts often recommend relaxation exercises to relieve stress, such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga. Light brain training for sleep disorders can also help, as Austrian researchers recently found in a study. Most experts advise against medication. Boentert explained that it was also important to lock balcony and terrace doors and not to leave any sharp objects within reach. In addition, sufferers should have someone on hand to wake them up immediately if sleepwalking begins. Waking up is always the safer alternative, since accidents can happen during sleepwalking. "You shouldn't be impressed by the fact that it can take a while for the sleepwalker to react normally," said the expert. (ad)

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