It has been reported one in five children sleepwalks regularly and at least 40% have done it at least once. It is more rare to do as we get older, but 1-2.5% of adults still do it. It is not dangerous to wake a sleepwalker – it is just unpleasant for the sleepwalker. However, for others, it is dangerous for them if you do not wake the sleepwalker! Sleepwalking and what the brain does is still a mystery, however, if the sleep walking happens frequently and causes problems, then sleep disorder specialists, suggest carers spend a week noting the time when the sleepwalking tends to happen, and then gently wake the person about fifteen minutes before this time. This will often break the cycle.
In 1987, a man from Toronto in the United States stabbed his mother-in-law to death. The 23-year-old was suffering from severe insomnia caused by joblessness and gambling debts. He awoke, got in his car and drove 23 km to his in-laws’ home and stabbed to death his mother-in-law. It was reported that because he could not remember anything about the murder and assault, had no motive for the crime whatsoever, and did have a history of sleepwalking, his team of defence experts (psychiatrists, a psychologist, a neurologist and a sleep specialist) concluded Ken Parks was ‘asleep’ when he committed the crime, and therefore unaware of his actions. Read more at http://www.oddee.com/item_96680.aspx#RZiIX3PVUD8o6S3s.99
Professor Matthew Walker from University College London Hospital’s Sleep Clinic said he had a patient who went out of his house, got into his car and drove, all while fast asleep.
Robert Wood, a 55 year-old chef, gets up four or five times a week while asleep and heads to the kitchen where he prepares omelettes, stir fries and chips. He has been sleepwalking for 40 years and this concerns his wife.
In 2004, sleep medicine experts have successfully treated a rare case of an Australian woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking. She stopped her night-time excursions after psychiatric counselling.
Lee Hadwin, a nurse, produces strange and fantastical artworks while he sleeps and Ian Armstrong, a computer expert, has been caught by his wife mowing the lawn at 2am in the nude.
I have heard personal stories of people urinating in the fridge and in the kitchen bin and going to sleep in a different bed in the house.
Medication is available is necessary. However, getting adequate sleep and relaxation exercises can assist. It is also to keep the sleepwalker’s room safe and free from harmful objects. A great idea is a bell on the bedroom door or a lock on the doors and windows. Each case will need to be assessed individually – it is important to seek help from your medical advisor and health care professionals.