Question: Why do some people. Sleep walk?

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  1. It can be something that’s inherited, or it can be caused by things like lack of sleep, stress, drunkeness or a medical condition. Some medications designed to help you sleep can also cause sleep walking (and things like sleep driving). Scary stuff, hey?


  2. When we sleep, our brains do not stop working, but they are normally mostly disconnected from our bodies. My guess is that for sleep-walkers there is not quite enough disconnection; they are dreaming and acting out the dream.
    I used to do it sometimes when I was a child. I would wake up and find I was trying to find the door to my room behind the wardrobe. I stopped doing it by the time I was in high school.


  3. The scientific word for sleepwalking is ‘somnambulism’. I was a sleep walker as a child (I used to sleep walk and talk all at once!) but I grew out of it before I was a teenager. Sleep walking happens in the slow wave stage of sleep, so things that increase the period you spend in slow wave sleep (like sleep deprivation, fever, medications and excessive tiredness) will increase the chance of you doing it.

    It appears to have a heritable (run in families) component, as DJ said, but it seems that we don’t fully understand what triggers some people to do it and others not to.

    Are you a sleepwalker? 🙂