JUN 29, 2016 12:35 PM PDT
Why Do People Sleepwalk?
WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet
3 6 139

For most, sleep is when our bodies rest and recover. At most, we toss and turn. For some, however, they get out of bed and walk around, even though they're still sleeping. In rare cases, they may even drive a car or cook a meal.

About 30 percent of adults in the U.S. have reported a history of sleepwalking. The cause of sleepwalking, also called somnambulism, is unknown. It most frequently occurs in children, regardless of gender. The rate of children who sleepwalk is as high as 17 percent. It can occur as soon as the child can walk, and usually peaks by the time the child is eight to 12 years old.

We also know sleepwalking happens during the deepest stages of sleep. The deepest stages of sleep are stages 3 and 4. Your brainwaves are the slowest during this time. Most dreams occur in REM when the brain is much more active. Your muscles are temporarily paralyzed during this time so you don't act out your dreams. Thus, most sleepwalking occurs in other stages since you can't walk if your muscles are paralyzed.

It's very difficult to wake up someone while they're sleepwalking because they're in such a deep stage of sleep. If you do wake them up, they're going to be incredibly confused as to why they're out of bed. Thus, while it's not dangerous to wake a person up, be prepared to have an explanation.

sources: Life Noggin, LiveScience
About the Author
  • Julianne (@JuliChiaet) covers health and medicine for LabRoots. Her work has been published in The Daily Beast, Scientific American, and MailOnline. While primarily a science journalist, she has also covered culture and Japanese organized crime. She is the New York Board Representative for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA). • To read more of her writing, or to send her a message, go to Jchiaet.com
You May Also Like
MAY 16, 2018
Videos
MAY 16, 2018
Blood Sugar Monitoring Without Finger Sticks
People with diabetes, especially those with insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes, have to be constantly aware of their blood sugar levels. Before and after ea
MAY 18, 2018
Videos
MAY 18, 2018
Tips for Reducing Your Melanoma Risk
Each year, more people are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer than every other kind of cancer combined. It's not just about having a pesky spot remove
JUN 05, 2018
Videos
JUN 05, 2018
A Look Back at the Human Genome Project
Some of the participants in this landmark project tell some interesting stories about the work.
JUN 08, 2018
Videos
JUN 08, 2018
Video: Paper Made From What?
This eco-friendly paper is sourced from poop.
JUN 15, 2018
Videos
JUN 15, 2018
How not shaving can save the planet
Every year in the US we throw away 2 billion “disposable” shaving razors. But the problem is, these items are not actually disposable at all &n
JUN 17, 2018
Videos
JUN 17, 2018
DNA Sequencing Tells a Story of Human Migration
Researchers at Harvard Medical School are using modern sequencing technologies to learn more about our past.
Loading Comments...