Why do some people sleepwalk and sleep?


Sleepwalking affects about 5% of the world’s population. Most often, the phenomenon manifests itself as a harmless nocturnal adventure. However, sometimes sleepwalkers are able to behave aggressively, attack others or get into risky situations.

Sleepwalking or somnambulism has been studied since ancient times. In Antiquity, sleepwalking was equated with madness. The word «lunaticus» itself is translated from Latin as «madman».

In the Middle Ages, the influence of the moon on a person was seen as establishing a connection with otherworldly forces. In the meaningless phrases of the sleepwalker, people tried to make out fateful predictions, and in active actions they saw an obsession with the devil.

However, even today, somnambulism is classified as a disorder of the nervous system. Scientists identify two main reasons for nighttime adventures: disturbances in slow wave sleep and genetic predisposition.

The structure of sleep consists of slow and fast phases. They replace each other several times during the night. The slow stage is divided into three more stages: falling asleep, light and deep sleep. Sleepwalkers are activated 1-1.5 hours after falling asleep.

Caused by this

The production of GABA is formed as they grow older and are not fully developed in children. therefore, at a young age, cases of sleepwalking are not uncommon. By

Adults sleep less often — from 1 to 2%, and this is no longer considered the norm. A lack of production of an inhibitory neurotransmitter can signal either the development of severe neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, or indicate a mental disorder.

In some cases, sleepwalking can be explained not by mental illness, but by genetic factors. This was found out by a group of scientists led by Dominique Petit from the University of Montreal. She

It turned out that, in general, 29% of children were susceptible to sleepwalking. Most of them had parents who never suffered from somnambulism. However, if the parents themselves were exposed to this phenomenon in childhood, then the ability to stay awake in sleep was transmitted in 62% of cases.

The researchers concluded that sleepwalking can be inherited and, most likely, is of a physiological nature.

Contrary to popular belief, you can wake up a sleepwalker. Sleep walking in children is not treated in any way and is associated with the immaturity of the nervous system, so you can put an alarm on the bedroom door. The irritant will wake up the child and he will come out of the state of sleepwalking.

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