Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder known as a parasomnia. This happens when a person partially awakens during the night, walks, or does other complex behaviors while still technically asleep.


Some causes of sleepwalking include:

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of walking in your sleep. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:


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If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume they are due to sleepwalking. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor:

  • Walking during deep sleep
  • Sitting up in bed and repeating certain movements (eg, rubbing eyes, fumbling with clothes)
  • Talking in your sleep
  • Difficulty arousing during a sleepwalking episode
  • Doing inappropriate behavior during a sleepwalking episode (eg, urinating in closets)
  • Screaming during sleepwalking episodes
  • Becoming violent when a person tries to wake you


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will also do a physical exam. You will be asked about your:

  • Family history
  • Fatigue
  • Medication
  • Underlying illness or stress

Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist. You may need to have a sleep study done.


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Strategies to Prevent Injury

Your doctor will help you prevent injury during sleepwalking by recommending that you:

  • Remove dangerous objects
  • Keep doors and windows closed and locked


Some cases of sleepwalking can be treated with hypnosis .


These medications may be helpful in reducing the incidence of sleepwalking:

  • Sedative-hypnotics
  • Tranquilizers
  • Antidepressants


To help reduce the chances of sleepwalking, take the following steps:

  • Increase the amount of time scheduled for sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and certain medications that may trigger sleepwalking.
  • Have a regular bedtime routine.