Ever seen a family member get out of bed and move around as though they are awake? It may be a case of sleepwalking.
Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking is a disorder that commonly occurs in children aged between four and 12 but may also extend to or begin in adolescence and adulthood.
In general, people will not be able to remember what they did during their sleepwalking. Some walk, talk, eat or urinate, but others may even complete more dangerous tasks such as leaving the house or driving.
Should this happen with someone you know, there are some things you can do.
1. Take them back to the bedroom
Instead of trying to wake the person up mid-walk, consultant paediatrician Harriet Hiscock recommended taking their hand or elbow gently to guide them back to where they should be.
“They might actually talk to you and it might not make much sense but if you don’t wake them up completely, they usually won’t remember anything the next day,” Hiscock told ABC.
2. Wake them up from a distance
If the above method does not work, do not shake or hit the person – they might lash out and attack those who attempt to wake them. Instead, call their name loudly from a safe distance.
3. Install safety measures
Apart from locking windows and doors, you can also put bells to alert other people in the house of the person’s movement. Keep car keys and sharp objects in a safe place, away from easily reachable spots.
4. Talk to a doctor
A specialist can assess the causes of sleepwalking and the options to treat the problem. These may include creating healthier sleep habits, rearranging intake of sleep aid medications, and more.