Sleepwalking. Walking on the roofs

Sleepwalking.  Walking on the roofs.  Photo from

Until recently, many somnambulist behavior associated with something mysterious and inexplicable. Meanwhile, scientists have found an explanation for this unusual condition. What compels people to commit senseless walks in the night and can I recover from them?

What is somnambulism?

Around the phenomenon called medical language somnambulism (other names — sleepwalking, sleepwalking), there are many legends. For example, in a serious scientific book, you can find a description of a curious case. It tells that a farmer "in a fit of somnambulism made his way into the house of a neighbor of the widow, and do not wake up, she conceived a child." And who among us does not remember the children's "horror stories" about the lunatic who were told in whispers in the dark.

As science explains this phenomenon? Of course, nothing to do with the moon, it does not have, though, and is called by the people sleepwalking. From the Latin word "somnambulism" is translated as walking in a dream. Medicine believes that sleepwalking — is a sleep disorder that is associated with an incomplete awakening. Its causes are different neurophysiological processes.

At what stage of sleep sleepwalking performs his "excursion"?

In a healthy person immediately after sleep begins the so-called slow-wave sleep phase, which lasts 60-90 minutes. For this time dream goes through four stages of development — from the surface to the deepest. Muscle tone is maintained, man often changes the position and did not see dreams. For REM sleep, which replaces the slow, characterized by a relaxed state of all muscles of the body, with the exception of some of the eye muscles and nasopharynx. That's when we are dreaming.

During the night, these phases follow each other several times. "Attack" somnambulism can happen during deep REM sleep. The origin of this state scientists were able to secure it with electroencephalography — registering brain activity. As a result, the notion that a sleepwalker reproduces the actions that he sees in his sleep, turned out to be erroneous.

Short "attack" takes place without changing the sleep stage. In this case, the sleepwalker can get up and sit up in bed, say a few words, and then happily goes to sleep.

If you spend encephalographic studies on long walks in his sleep, instruments register the signs of drowsiness and wakefulness. We sleepwalker 'on' all the senses. His eyes were open, he hears, sees, feels, maintaining the balance of the body is no worse and sometimes better than waking moment. This explains the legendary agility somnambulist. The sense of danger during these walks a man greatly blunted, and he can make a dizzying stunt, which would not have dared to reality.

After full awakening a sleepwalker does not remember anything about his night walks. In the morning he may very surprised to find myself out of bed and on the balcony or staircase, and in a negligee.

Can we assume somnambulism serious disease?

It all depends on the specific causes of sleep disturbance. Sometimes a perfectly healthy organism is reacting to a stressful situation. Often walking in a dream make overly emotional people, or those who have a family history of somnambulism.

Sometimes adults sleepwalking called neuroses and other disorders in the nervous system. Somnambulism may also be a manifestation of epilepsy, and often it is a harbinger of the disease, appearing several years before the rest of his symptoms.

Why are most often Somnambulist are children and adolescents?

Udet is associated with features of bioelectric processes in the cerebral cortex. Typically, this "growing pains" goes away on its own, if it is not associated with pathological changes in the central nervous system. By the way, sometimes cause a bout of sleepwalking can be artificial, if during slow-wave sleep gently put the baby on his feet.

What to do if you or someone close suffers from somnambulism?

After the first case of sleepwalking sighted should consult a neurologist or psychiatrist. If the doctor sees fit, you will encephalography and CT scan of the brain that help to prevent epilepsy. Epileptic wandering in a dream, wake up is almost impossible.

In healthy people, somnambulism — a temporary phenomenon, and typically does not require special treatment. But if it is associated with epilepsy, nervous disorders, and other disorders of the nervous system, it is necessary to treat these causes of disease.

If a time unconscious "Excursions" man is injured, your doctor may prescribe medications to correct the phase of sleep. Their method significantly reduces the period of REM sleep by increasing fast.

By the way, the main concerns somnambulist and his family are connected with injuries. After all, people are not able to control the end of the reality can fall out of bed, with a window seat, a table, and even fall out of the window. Also, there are cases where a sleepwalker left the apartment and tried to leave the car. To walk the night did not end in tragedy, try to hide at night door keys and car.

If sleepwalking episodes are long, you need to put bars on all the windows, remove the items and traumatic as possible to "smooth" the sharp corners of the apartment. Some people bitter experience somnambulistic injury, tie yourself to the bed, put it near a basin of water. Sometimes it helps, but somnambulist able to untie the rope, without waking up, and around the water tank.

If someone close suffers from somnambulism, be attentive to his dream. After witnessing the "night walks", gently wake up the person and navigate to the bed.

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