Sleepwalking Safety Products, LLC

"You'll know when your sleepwalker is on the move"

Sleepwalking Safety

Sleepwalking Resources

What is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking is a sleep disorder known to specialists as somnambulism and is part of a group of sleep disorders called parasomnias (disruptive abnormal behaviors during sleep).  Although sleepwalking is one of the better known parasomnias that is often associated with people ending up in harmless and humorous situations, it is not well understood by both the medical profession and the general public. A recent study (See video below) published in the May 15, 2012 issue of the journal Neurology reported that researchers found approximately 3.6% of U. S. adults (about 8.4 million people) sleepwalk each year. On top of that, nearly 30% of adults reported a sleepwalking episode at least once during their lifetime. This new study suggests that sleepwalking is far more common than previously thought, and nearly 80% of the surveyed sleepwalkers reported chronic sleepwalking episodes for more than five years.

Sleepwalking events are common in children and typically decrease with age.  Although an astonishing one-third of the population has gone on a sleepwalking adventure, sleepwalking remains a mysterious disorder that can be extremely dangerous to both the sleepwalker and the unsuspecting persons in their path.

Many sleepwalkers and their families are simply unaware that sleepwalking can be dangerous.  While most sleepwalking instances in children are harmless, they become more serious as an adult. Common injuries result from tripping and falling over objects or falling downstairs.  More serious injuries on record include cuts or burns received while cooking, automobile accidents (driving while sleepwalking), falling out of or leaping through windows, walking off roofs and in very rare cases assault and battery and murder. Several deaths initially ruled by investigators as suicide have been subsequently changed to suicide or accident while sleepwalking.

People, including many physicians, often are uninformed about somnambulism and its hidden dangers and mistakenly view sleepwalking as harmless and funny. In the general population, the prevalence of sleepwalking episodes as a whole are much higher than many other conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, hypersomnia and narcolepsy, yet sleep disorders centers have very few cases of parasomnias. Most adult sleepwalkers likely consider their condition to be embarrassing but do not seek treatment until a serious injury or incident has occurred.

If your child or loved one sleepwalks, do not wait for a serious injury to occur like we did with our son.  Had we been aware of the dangers involved with sleepwalking, we could have avoided his injury by safeguarding his environment and installing inexpensive alarms to let us know when our sleepwalker is on the move again.

Presented below are several interesting videos regarding the fascinating world of sleepwalking followed by links to websites which provide helpful information relating to parasomnias and sleepwalking. Please contact us at zwalker@sleepwalkingsafety.com if you have any suggestions for improving our website or if you can recommend additional resources or sleepwalking safety products that we should add to our website.  Please share your sleepwalking experiences with everyone at Sleepwalking Forum (coming soon).

Sleepwalking Videos

In the News

CNN video featuring Dr. David Schulman, Director of Emory University Sleep Laboratory.

Sleepwalking More Common Than Previously Thought reported by Newsy Science.

Is It Real? Extreme Sleepwalking presented by National Geographic Channel.

Rising sleep deficiencies mean more sleepwalking reported by ABC News.

Sleepwalking more common than believed study reported by ABC News.

You Tube

A mom’s reaction to her sleepwalking video.

Bizkit the sleewalking dog.

Coca-Cola commercial featuring a sleepwalker.

Helpful Websites and Articles

The Dana Foundation

The Dana Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that supports brain and clinical neuroscience research, provides an excellent article “Are We In the Dark About Sleepwalking’s Dangers?” written by Shelly R. Gunn, M.D., Ph.D. and her son W. Stewart Gunn. Dr. Gunn’s son, a college student, was severely injured while sleepwalking when he fell out of his dormitory window. Stewart and his mother subsequently published this very informative article which discusses in detail the importance of sleepwalking knowledge and sleepwalking safety.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia provides an article covering non-rapid eye movement parasomnias, including sleepwalking (somnambulism), confusional arousals, sleep terrors (night terrors), teeth grinding (bruxism), restless legs syndrome & periodic limb movements, sleep sex, and sleep related eating disorder, and REM parasomnias including REM sleep behavior disorder, recurrent isolated sleep paralysis and catathrenia.

The National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation addresses the following questions:

  • What is sleepwalking?
  • When does sleepwalking occur?
  • What causes sleepwalking?
  • What is at risk for sleepwalking?
  • Should you wake a sleepwalker?
  • How can you protect a sleepwalker?
  • How do you treat sleepwalking?
  • When to seek evaluation and possible treatment for sleepwalking?

WebMD

WebMD discusses various parasomnias including sleepwalking, nightmares, night terrors, confusional arousals, sleep talking and other parasomnias.

Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic discusses sleepwalking and various other parasomnias.

Sleep Forensics Associates

Sleep Forensics Associates is a group of sleep specialists who serve as medico-legal consultants.  They share information on very interesting cases of extreme sleepwalking and other parasomnias with forensic implications relating to sleepwalking including assault, child molestation, DUI, fall risk, industrial accidents, mistaken suicide, motor vehicle accidents, murder, rape, sexual assault, sleep eating, sleep driving, and sleep-related violence.

Sleepcenters.org

Sleepcenters.org provides a searchable directory of sleep centers.  Each sleep center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

American Academy of Sleep Medicine is the only professional society dedicated exclusively to the medical subspecialty of sleep medicine. AASM considers sleep disorders an illness that has reached epidemic proportions.

America’s Surprising Sleepwalking Problem

America’s Surprising Sleepwalking Problem by US News.