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Sleepwalking (Somnambulism)


Somnambulism—from the Latin somnus (sleep) and ambulus (walking)—involves involuntary motor acts—particularly walking—during sleep. Research indicates that sleepwalking is a normal phenomenon, although it may be more prevalent among these under a lot of stress. Somnambulism occurs most often in pubescence (ages ten to fourteen years), and there is also a genetic component (some families exhibit a greater tendency to sleepwalk than others). There appears to be a relationship between somnambulistic and hypnotic states.

A typical sleepwalking episode is rather short, rarely exceeding thirty minutes. Although seemingly oblivious to external reality, sleepwalkers typically manage to avoid running into objects. They usually make their way back to bed successfully, but sometimes they lie down on the floor or a couch at the conclusion of an active episode.

Contrary to what one might expect, somnambulistic behavior occurs only during the deepest levels of sleep (Stage 4), rather than during the most active dreaming periods. People awakened in the midst of or at the conclusion of a sleepwalking episode are dazed and confused. They are unable to recall dreams that might conceivably be connected with the walking episode, or any part of the actual somnambulistic experience.

References in periodicals archive ?
He has a history of sleepwalking typical of that type of behaviour of not knowing what he was doing.
Mark's solicitor Simon Walker is battling any change to the sleepwalking defence law.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility someone might commit a sex act while sleepwalking but this is the first case I've heard of.
You can go into court and say: 'Sorry I did that, I was sleepwalking.
In the first study, those participants who replied affirmatively to the sleepwalking question (N = 20) obtained a mean of parapsychological experiences of 2.
Freeman said there washistory of sleepwalking in Queally's family - and the defendant had sleepwalked from the age of five.
Morag, who has a history of sleepwalking, slept through the episode in Long Eaton, Derbys, and was woken up by paramedics.
Working from numerous studies over the last 15 years at the hospital's Centre for Advanced Studies in Sleep Medicine at the Hopital du Sacre-coeur de Montreal and a thorough analysis of the literature, Zadra and his colleagues have raised the veil on sleepwalking and clarified the diagnostic criteria for researchers and clinicians.
Deputy Black Country coroner Dr Andrew Thompson, sitting at Dudley Coroner's Court, heard Mr Robinson, 49, who wept openly after the hearing, describe how a previous sleepwalking episode had culminated in his wife being admitted to Russells Hall Hospital.
The RCN believes that the NHS is sleepwalking into a nursing crisis in England that is drawing closer as the size of the cuts increase," a report for the organisation's Frontline First campaign said.
A CHIP shop owner told of his relief yesterday after escaping a drinkdrive ban - because he was sleepwalking.