Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

October 22, 2020

December 27, 2022


Sleepwalking is a condition that involves walking around and performing other actions in your sleep. Though we often use sleepwalking figuratively in conversations, to describe someone who isn’t paying attention, it is a real health problem.

Click on the link given here, to know in detail about sleep disorder treatment.

It is important to note that sleepwalking doesn't just involve walking, but may include other simple or complex actions like getting dressed, moving furniture or more complex behaviours such as trying to drive.

Formally known as somnambulism, sleepwalking is a behavioural disorder. It is more common in children but can affect adults of all age groups, particularly if there’s a family history of it.

Even though isolated incidents of sleepwalking aren’t considered harmful, recurrent sleepwalking could be indicative of an underlying disorder.

Read on to know the signs and symptoms of sleepwalking, what causes sleepwalking, when to see a doctor for it and treatment options for somnambulism.

(Read More - Sleep during pregnancy)

Symptoms of sleepwalking

A sleepwalking episode generally lasts a few minutes, but can also last longer. Most episodes finish in less than 10 minutes. The person is likely to return to bed and go back to sleep on their own. Sometimes people may also wake up confused while they are still out of bed.

A sleepwalker might:

  • Have no memory of sleepwalking 
  • May not respond to communication during an episode 
  • Have a glassy/lost stare 
  • May quietly walk around
  • May try to escape or run away 
  • Feel tired during the daytime due to disturbed sleep (sleep deprivation)
  • Feel disoriented

(Read More - Jet lag treatment)

Use Melatonin Sleep Support Tablets to get rid of insomnia and have a sound sleep -
Sleeping Tablets
₹499  ₹549  9% OFF

Causes of sleepwalking

Why do people start walking while they are asleep? What is the cause behind it? Before we get to that, let's take a look at what happens in sleepwalking: sleepwalking occurs during the deepest stage of non-rapid eye movement sleep. It is a disorder of arousal. In simpler words, sleepwalking occurs when a person in deep sleep gets partially woken up in a way that triggers physical activity.

Various things contribute to this, including:

  • Heredity: Sleepwalking tends to run in families
  • Travelling: Changes in sleep setting or sleep environment
  • Sleep disorders: Interruptions in sleep due to disorders like sleep apnea
  • Medication: Taking medication, especially those prescribed for psychiatric conditions, including hypnotics (sleeping pills) and sedatives
  • Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol, especially a few hours before going to sleep, could create instability in sleep stages, increasing the risk of sleepwalking
  • Head injury: Conditions like a head injury that affects the brain could be a trigger
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep or extreme fatigue are the most common causes of sleepwalking. This is probably because after being sleep deprived, more time is spent in deep sleep
  • Illness: Fever and illness make sleepwalking more likely, especially in children, probably due to the increased number of illness-driven arousals

(Read More - Home remedies for deep sleep)

Diagnosis and treatment of sleepwalking

The condition is usually self diagnosable. If you wake up in a different part of the house and don't remember how you got there, chances are you have been sleepwalking. If you share the house with someone, they may also inform you about the same.

Treatment for sleepwalking depends on how disruptive the episodes are, how frequently they occur and the age of the patient.

In the case of young children, a technique called anticipatory awakening is preferred. In this method, the child is woken up around 10-15 minutes prior to the usual timing of an episode so that they stay awake during that period. This technique can be taken up for adults too and should be done several nights in a row.

Consulting a hypnotist or a behavioural therapist for relaxation techniques is another common technique that is applied for the treatment of sleepwalking.

Medication such as Clonazepam and Trazodone may be prescribed. Your doctor may ask you to discontinue these medicines if you have not had a sleepwalking episode for several weeks in a row. Check with your doctor before taking or stopping any medication.

(Read More - Sleep chart)


  1. Claudio Bassetti, Silvano Vella, Filippo Donati, Peter Wielepp, Bruno Weder, SPECT during sleepwalking The Lancet, Volume 356, Issue 9228, 2000, Pages 484-485
  2. Christian Guilleminault, Ceyda Kirisoglu, Gang Bao, Viola Arias, Allison Chan, Kasey K. Li, Adult chronic sleepwalking and its treatment based on polysomnography Brain, Volume 128, Issue 5, May 2005, Pages 1062–1069
  3. A Kales, CR Soldatos, EO Bixler, RL Ladda, DS Charney, G Weber and PK Schweitzer Hereditary factors in sleepwalking and night terrors The British Journal of Psychiatry 1980 137: 111-118

Medicines for Sleepwalking

Medicines listed below are available for Sleepwalking. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine Name



Showing 1 to 0 of 1 entries