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Parasomnia Series: Debunking Myths About Sleep Walking

21st November , 2019

Because of the advent of technology, getting a goodnight’s sleep can be easy. Similarly, it can affect an individual’s sleep hygiene. For instance, the use of technology at night can make it difficult for an individual to fall asleep.

As a result, the quality of sleep is reduced. This is due to the effects of using the device and the light emitting from the screen to our circadian rhythm- in short, sleep is disrupted. Other than technology, there are also other factors that can disrupt our sleep.

Parasomnia is a series of sleep disorders that often involve abnormal behaviors that can happen during the different stages of sleep. A popular form of Parasomnia is sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking or somnambulism is more common than you think. In fact, according to data from Stanford University and the University of Montreal, there are approximately 8.4 million people who sleepwalk each year in the US alone. And one to fifteen percent of the global population experience occasional sleepwalking.

What causes sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking happens during NREM or non-rapid eye movement. This is usually the first cycle of sleep when the muscles of the body has not reached the state of atonia- that is when the voluntary muscles are paralyzed (which happens during the REM stage). This, in turn, lets people that are asleep move around unconsciously.

Scientists say that sleepwalking can be hereditary. And many agree that it is triggered by stress and sleep deprivation- meaning, when you constantly deprive yourself of sleep, you are more likely to experience sleep sleepwalking than others who have healthy sleep hygiene.

Other than these facts, there are also things that are said about sleepwalking that are nothing more than just an old wives’ tale. Here are three of the oddest myths about sleepwalking.

Myth#1 Do not Wake Them Up!

Apparently, public perception dictates that waking a person from sleepwalking can do more harm than good. Some people believe that a sleepwalker may be startled, and may even induce high blood pressure, or worse a heart attack. On the contrary, it is more dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker.

In situations wherein they may injure themselves or hurt the people around them, it’s only obvious to wake them up. Experts suggest that the best form of intervention is to guide a sleepwalker back to their room and in the comfort of their mattress.

Myth#2 It doesn’t affect daytime behavior

The fact is, any kind of parasomnia can have adverse effects during the day such as excessive daytime sleepiness. It gets in the way of performing tasks that require being alert. In children, it could manifest as inattentiveness or hyperactivity rather than being sleepy. And like with several sleeping disorders, it may affect the health as well. This may include weight gain, stress, and anxiety.

For children, a consistent bedtime routine should be established to help in the treatment of sleepwalking. On the other hand, Adults should maintain an adequate amount of sleep and keep a healthy sleep hygiene. As sleepwalking can be induced by a lack of sleep, it is important to have a conducive place to sleep in. So if you experience episodes of sleepwalking, ensure that you have comfortable pillows, blankets, and the highest quality mattress to sleep on.

Myth#3 Sleepwalking is a random phenomenon

This couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Sleepwalking doesn’t just happen randomly. It occurs when part of a person’s brain is awake, and another part is asleep. This usually takes place during the first part of the night. Strangely enough, it could happen at the same time, every night.

In addition, somnambulism affects 15% of children and about 2% of adults and is highly genetic. Studies show that 80% of sleepwalkers have family members who sleepwalk as well.

Get The Best Sleep

In general, sleepwalking does not require any specific treatment unless it is accompanied by other sleep disorders. Ultimately, a change in lifestyle can help such as practicing a regular sleep routine and developing healthy sleep hygiene. Getting the best sleep will ensure a healthy, reinvigorated body. So put your favorite pair of pajamas, fluff your pillows and lie on your comfortable mattress for better sleep. Whether you like sleeping on a foam or orthopedic mattress, Magniflex has it sorted for you!

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