JUN 29, 2016 12:35 PM PDT

Why Do People Sleepwalk?

WRITTEN BY: Julianne Chiaet
3 6 147

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
JUL 09, 2018
Videos
JUL 09, 2018
Does the Mediterranean Diet Keep Your Brain Healthy?
In southern European countries, the "Mediterranean Diet" is widespread and lauded as a healthy way to eat. It includes very little red meat, lots
JUL 15, 2018
Videos
JUL 15, 2018
Meet the Rare Binary Asteroid Recently Confirmed by NASA
Astronomers first became aware of an asteroid called YE5 in December of 2017, but something seemed odd about it after they were unable to discern its physi
JUL 24, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 24, 2018
How Does It Taste? Want Some Salt (and Microplastics)?
Looks can be very deceiving: pristine, pure-like grains of sea salt can be the perfect trojan horse for the invasion of the omnipresent environmental villa
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
Separating Microbial Fact From Fiction
Can the toilet really send germs flying to your toothbrush?
AUG 02, 2018
Videos
AUG 02, 2018
Which is More Damaging to Your Health, Alcohol or Weed?
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the federal government, making it a challenger for scientists to conduct further studies and gather stat
AUG 05, 2018
Videos
AUG 05, 2018
Watch a Bird Take Flight in Super-Slow Motion
Many of us watch birds take off into flight right before our eyes every day, but it happens so quickly that we don’t get a chance to observe the mech
Loading Comments...