Sleepwalking is common in childhood and can cause behaviours like sitting up, walking around and even doing other activities during sleep. Dr. Brian Murray, a sleep specialist at Sunnybrook says, if you don’t outgrow it, that’s a problem. If sleepwalking occurs in adult life, it’s always concerning and there’s something else going on and should be investigated. There are two main kinds of sleepwalking. One happens during slow-wave sleep, which can be a sign of sleep apnea, periodic limb movements or even seizures triggering arousals during the night. People often don’t remember this type of sleepwalking. The other kind happens during the REM sleep, which people are much more likely to recall. We see REM sleep behaviour disorder commonly in this hospital and that’s a condition associated with Parkinson’s disease. This type can also be associated with certain types of dementia. Dr. Murray says there are medications like some anti-depressants, that can aggravate sleepwalking. The first step in getting help is being assessed by a qualified sleep specialist. The good news is, treatment is available and effective for most people. That could include medications to address the underlying health issues that are triggering the sleepwalking. Or in some people, Dr. Murray says behavioural changes may help. Having naps decreases deep sleep, the stage when sleepwalking can be triggered. He says changing the external environment can also be effective. So if people have a lot of extraneous noise then that can trigger arousals so we might suggest something like a white noise machine to drown out random environmental sounds. So should you ever try to wake up a sleepwalker? Dr. Murray says no, provided they are not in danger. If you are alseep but you have a litle bit of arousal you might enact your dreams, fall out of bed and have an injury. So the idea that you want to be in one state and not drifting in between states is an important concept. So if you sleepwalk or live with someone who does, make sure the sleep environment is safe so no injuries happen. And contact your doctor in the morning. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.