Sleepwalking: treatments and tips

Many children experience episodes of sleepwalking punctually even though there is no evidence that triggered these symptoms. It is therefore difficult to diagnose sleepwalking because we can talk about:

  • episode of sleepwalking (which highlights the acute aspect of the "crisis") or
  • sleepwalking (which refers to a disorder and therefore to a notion of chronicization).

It is important to make this distinction because a chronicization of episodes can result in violence, agitation or social unrest.

This diagnosis must also be a differential diagnosis between sleepwalking and nocturnal terror (with fear-induced leakage) because the symptomatology may be similar while the management will not be. One element can help to decide the side of the night terror: the cry of panic.

Other disorders may be similar or confused with sleepwalking, such as:

  • paradoxical sleep behavior disorder (which occurs rather in the last part of the night),
  • the confusional awakenings,
  • some forms of epilepsy

It is therefore important to establish a safe diagnosis. For this, there are sleep centers (for example) in some hospitals that allow to take stock of the person's sleep.

For the children, it is often enough to meet the child and the parents during some interviews. Thus, medical treatments are only very rarely needed.

In any case, it is essential that the professional who meets the person suffering from sleepwalking gives them advice on healthy living.

Childhood sleep disorder

Sleep disorder in children is a persistent alteration in the quality or quantity of sleep. What are the symptoms, causes and solutions? All you need to know to help your child sleep better!

Some practical tips

1) The subject should avoid stressors, especially those that can lead to poor sleep (psychological or physical stressors).

Thus, we sleep less well when we are in a sensitive emotional state (anger, sadness, etc.); it refers to psychological stressors.

In the same way, some things can stress our body and prevent it from sleeping well. For example, coffee can accelerate the heart and the blue light (produced by our TV, tablet, phone, etc.) disrupts our internal rhythm (called circadian rhythms) via our visual channels.

2) It is necessary to reduce the lack of sleep, and therefore, to restore circadian rhythms (24-hour sleep-wake rhythm) stable.

3) The environment (room) can also be modified to guarantee the safety of the person: Securing a room can avoid the risk of accident or fall.

  • Care must be taken not to leave potentially dangerous or sharp objects on the ground.
  • Similarly, it is necessary to close the windows but also the doors.
  • Finally, as a safety measure, one should think not to leave a chair close to an open window because there are rare cases of defenestration.
  • We also prefer to offer a room on the ground floor to a person suffering from sleepwalking.

And therapies?

More complex therapies are sometimes to consider. Thus, it is possible to propose psychotherapies to apprehend the thoughts and representations that the person has of his symptoms.

Hypnosis can also be effective in this type of case.

Finally, medical treatments (benzodiazepines) will be prescribed for the most complex, dangerous or recurrent cases but it is not a first-line treatment.

Want to react, share your experience or ask a question? Appointment in our FORUMS Fatigue and sleep or A doctor answers you !

Read also :

> Blue light: how to protect the eyes?
> Hypnosis to sleep
> Which psychotherapy to choose?

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