Sleepwalking Disorder

The act of getting up and walking around while asleep.
Sleepwalking is most common in children, who usually outgrow it by their teens.
Sleepwalking usually occurs one to two hours after falling asleep at night. Rarely, it may involve unusual behaviors, such as climbing out a window or urinating in a closet.
Often, sleepwalking is a random, harmless event. Treatment may be needed if it occurs often or causes injury. Medications and hypnosis may help.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: PW207
Diagnosis: Sleepwalking Disorder
US Patients:
World Patients:
Sex Ratio:
Age Onset: 5% in children; 1.5% in adults in a study had been sleep-walking once in the past 12 months
Brain Area: differently metabolized serotonin
Symptoms: Wakeful activities during slow-wave sleep from talking to eating to driving a car-little or no memory later; 30 seconds to 30 minutes
Progression: occurs early in the sleep-cycle; only once per night, often accompanied by night-terrors especially in children
Causes: sometimes schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, migraines or Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s, may be genetic or overly tired
Medications: antidepressants, serotonergic agents, antipsychotics ; Sleepwalking has sometimes been an effective defense against crimes.
Therapies: hypnosis, relaxation training,conditioning therapies. For safety, have ground floor bedroom, “alarm” the door, no weapons.


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.

  • Parasomnias and Sleep-Related Movement Disorders in Older Adults
    by Alex Iranzo on June 6, 2022

    Sleep paralysis is rare in the elderly but may occur particularly in families suffering from this phenomenon. In a minority of patients with disorders of arousal, the episodes persist until the age of 70. Zolpidem and other medications may induce sleepwalking and sleep eating-related syndrome. Most patients with idiopathic REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) eventually develop Parkinson disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Anti-IgLON5 disease includes abnormal behaviors in both nonrapid eye...

  • Medicolegal aspects of non-rapid eye movement parasomnias
    by Shi Hui Poon on May 4, 2022

    CONCLUSION: NREM parasomnias come with disquieting legal and forensic implications for adjudicating criminal responsibility. There is a need to critically examine legal perspectives on behaviours occurring during sleep. More reliable empirical studies investigating the pathophysiology of NREM parasomnias can offer clearer diagnostic guidelines and address complex behaviours of NREM that often come with medicolegal implications.

  • Sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sexsomnia and other disorders of arousal: the old and the new
    by Yannis Idir on April 7, 2022

    Disorders of arousal (DOA) is an umbrella term initially covering classical sleepwalking, sleep terrors, and confusional arousals, and now including a wider spectrum of specialised forms of non rapid eye movement (non REM) parasomnias such as sexsomnia, sleep-related eating disorder, and sleep-related choking syndrome. Growing evidence has shown that DOA are not restricted to children but are also prevalent in adults (2%-4% of the adult population). While DOA run in family, genetics studies...

  • Dissociation of motor control from motor awareness in awake sleepwalkers: An EEG study in virtual reality
    by Yannick Rothacher on March 3, 2022

    Recent behavioral evidence from a virtual reality (VR) study indicates that awake sleepwalkers show dissociation of motor control and motor awareness. This dissociation resembles the nocturnal disintegration of motor awareness and movement during episodes of sleepwalking. Here, we set out to examine the neural underpinnings of altered motor awareness in sleepwalkers by measuring EEG modulation during redirected walking in VR. To this end, we measured scalp EEG during ongoing motor behavior to...