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Definition of Sleepwalking

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Sleepwalking: Purposeful moving, usually but not always including walking, while in a deep stage of sleep. Sleepwalking occurs most frequently in children, particularly boys. Sedatives tend to exacerbate rather than cure sleepwalking. The best measures are preventive: Ensure that the sleepwalker is in a safe room for walking and cannot accidentally fall through an open window or down stairs. Some types of sleepwalking are related to seizure disorders, bipolar disorders, and other neurological conditions, but most cases are transitory and due to unknown causes. Also known as somnambulism.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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