|Sleepwalking (Latin: Somnus - sleep and ambulo - walking) - sleepwalking is a sleep condition, and people suffering from it carry out some actions while in a sleeping state. In this case, behavior of person looks like task-oriented and adequate. But, actually, he performs purposeless activities or in accordance with the dream, which he dreamt at a given point. Usually, sleepwalking occurs at the incomplete waking up from a deep slow wave sleep phase, in which the brain still remains in a half-asleep half-awake state. Usually, eyes of a sleepwalker are open. He can make various movements, pass obstacles and sometimes perform complicated actions like giving replies to simple questions. However, actions are not deliberate and cannot be remembered after waking up. It is very difficult task to wake up the sleepwalker - it is better to carefully take him back to bed.
Due to uncontrolled actions during sleep, people can cause physical injuries of varied severity to themselves. Sometimes, sleepwalkers fall out of windows by mistakenly assuming them to be doors.
Rare aggressive forms of sleepwalking can take unpredictable turns. The sleepwalker can be violent towards people, who try to help him or simply happen to be in his way. Usually, sleepwalkers do not walk in sleep for long, not more than an hour. Then, they return back to their bed. Not all sleepwalkers walk. Some sleepwalkers, for instance, sit or simply stand.
Sleepwalking is a sufficiently widespread phenomenon. Around 2% of the population periodically walk in sleep. Sleepwalking is often observed in children but with age it usually disappears. As nightmares, sleepwalking episodes often occur in children during stress and anxiety though children are mentally healthy. Sleepwalking in adults requires more serious attention. Stress, anxiety and sometimes epilepsy can be reasons for sleepwalking in adults.
The treatment consists of the use of tranquilizers, antidepressants or hypnotic therapy. If sleepwalking is because of epilepsy, then it is required to treat it by administering anti-convulsive drugs.
In the Middle ages, sleepwalkers were considered to be possessed with the devil and all the consequences ensue from here. Since then, the secret, which wrapped around this phenomenon, was slightly opened but not cracked fully.
The origin of this disease is still not sufficiently studied: presumably, it is conditioned by genetic reasons and appears due to damage to the morphological and functional maturation rate of the brain, during psychological trauma - as a result of shock, stress, under the influence of unfavorable living condition and even due to physical fatigue. Sometimes, sleepwalking develops as a consequence of a skull injury and acquired neuro infections and also one of the manifestations of epilepsy. Contrary to conceptions, found even amongst doctors, sleepwalkers are not always mentally sick.
According to the opinion of scientists, sleepwalking - "children" have incomplete inhibition of individual sections of brain cortex. In this case, the activity of some excitation focus of the cortex is comparable with a wakefulness period. Particularly, this "vigil in sleep" part of the central nervous system makes the sleeping man get up from a warm bed and makes him do specific movements automatically without the participation of conscience. It is possible to say that sleepwalking – is a special type of sleep (however, as a special type of wakefulness). Judging by behavior, the person is awake: walks and makes various actions but the electrical activity of his brain indicates that he is sleeping.
As a rule, sleepwalking cases are noticed during the first three hours from the time of sleeping. Usually, such walks are short - 10 - 15 min but some continue up to 20 - 30 and even up to 50 minutes and then the "walker" returns back to a normal sleep. More often, the night adventures of a sleepwalker are limited to walking within apartment rooms. However, he can automatically perform many complex, though common activities - arrange the dining table, clean the apartment, rearrange objects etc.
Sometimes, the mental performance of sleepwalkers increases: they successfully solve mathematical problems, which the sleepwalkers could not solve while they were awake and write poems.
Though very rare, sleepwalkers can pose a threat to surrounding people.
A special category of sleepwalkers are night eaters. During the night, they empty the refrigerator - eat the remaining dinner, drink sunflower oil from bottles, cleanly lick the cat feed from the bowl.
Every sleepwalker has his "graph" of night walks. One sleepwalks every month, another significantly often and the third "prefers" to wander for sometime in the arms of Morpheus during the day time. In most severe cases, sleepwalking is noticed every night.
Therefore, if relatives or friends are sleepwalkers, then you should have some knowledge about this phenomenon so as provide appropriate help to the family members. Though sleepwalking is not a characteristic feature of a mental disorder, you are required to discuss this issue with a specialist in this field. It is necessary to remember that night walks are provoked by severe over strain, prolonged insomnia and alcohol consumption before sleep.|