Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Wikipedia.

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 ?
The exact cause of sleepwalking is unknown, but it seems to run in families.
It would be very interesting to get more details (obviously without violating the congressman's privacy) on the circumstances leading to the accident, for example sleep debt, other medications, history of previous sleepwalking or family history of sleep disorders.
It is understood the GP will put forward a defence of "auto-autonomy", in that he was sleepwalking and therefore not conscious of his actions at the time of the alleged offences.
Sleepwalking disorder is characterized by episodes of motor behavior initiated during sleep which includes an individual rising and walking about.
They have no recollection of their sleepwalking actions, so unless they are awakened by someone else, some sleep disorders can go unnoticed for years.
But a judge found him not guilty of sexual assault when he heard two experts agreed Mr Ball was sleepwalking at the time and did not know what he was doing.
Sleepwalking peaks in adolescence, and it's no wonder, Dr.
Sky has a history of sleepwalking, so he isn't sure if the voice he hears or the shadowy hood and bony fingers are real or a dream.
A friend of Hind added: "He says the only explanation is that he was sleepwalking.
Sleepwalking Land, Mia Couto's first novel, explores the relationship between the oral tradition and the written word, truth and fiction, memory and invention.
A brief discussion of problems such as bedwetting, night terrors, or sleepwalking rounds out this straightforward, problem-solving guide, which points parents to a list of resources for further reading as needed.