1. When does sleepwalking occur?
Sleepwalking normally occurs an hour after bedtime when we have our deep sleep.
2. Why does it occur?
Sleepwalking often runs in families and although it can be alarming for parents, sleep disturbances are a normal developmental stage through which most children pass unharmed.
3. Should I wake my child from a sleepwalk?
Sleepwalking usually occurs when your child has entered deep non-REM sleep. Sleep during the first third of the night is very difficult to be woken from and your child will be very disorientated and confused if you try to wake her. It is best not to intervene, as waking her may upset her. It is best to simply guide your child gently back to bed and stay in the room whilst she settles.
4. Does diet have an impact?
Foods that are high in sugar can contribute to factors leading to sleepwalking.
5. What other factors may effect it?
Sleep disturbances such as sleepwalking can be exacerbated by sleep deprivation, so ensuring your child gets enough sleep will help.
6. How can I keep my child safe when she sleepwalks?
- If your child sleepwalks, do not allow her to sleep on the top bunk.
- Be mindful of trip hazards, keep the floor clear of large toys and other obstacles.
- Fix a stair gate to the top of the stairs if you have one.
- Make sure all windows are secure.
7. What can I do to help prevent my child from sleepwalking?
Stirring a child who regularly sleepwalks can often prevent it. Stir your child 15 minutes before the earliest sleepwalking episode every night for 2 weeks.
Finally, remember sleep disturbances such as sleepwalking are manifestations of a maturing neurological system and most children will have grown out of sleepwalking by the age of six years.