Preparing for your appointment

If you sleepwalk and have concerns about safety or underlying conditions, see your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist. You may want to bring a family member or friend along, if possible, to provide more information about your sleepwalking.

Keeping a sleep diary for two weeks before your appointment can help your doctor understand more about your sleep schedule, factors affecting your sleep and when sleepwalking occurs. In the morning, record as much as you know of bedtime rituals, quality of sleep and so on. At the end of the day, record behaviors that may affect sleep, such as sleep schedule disruptions, alcohol intake and any medications taken.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Any symptoms experienced, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
  • All medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you're taking, and the dosages
  • Questions to ask your doctor to help make the most of your time together

Some questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing the symptoms or condition?
  • What are other possible causes?
  • What kinds of tests are needed?
  • Is the condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • Are there any restrictions that need to be followed?
  • Is referral to a specialist needed?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you begin experiencing or noticing symptoms?
  • Have you or your child had sleep problems in the past?
  • Does anyone else in your family have sleep problems, especially sleepwalking or sleep terrors?
  • What problems have you noticed related to the sleepwalking, such as waking up in unusual locations of the house?
  • Are there symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, witnessed breathing pauses during sleep, labored breathing during sleep, unrefreshing sleep, daytime sleepiness or behavioral changes?
July 21, 2017
References
  1. Non-rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://dsm.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed May 9, 2017.
  2. Sleepwalking. National Sleep Foundation. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/abnormal-sleep-behaviors/sleepwalking. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  3. Sleepwalking. American Academy of Family Physicians. https://familydoctor.org/condition/sleepwalking/. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  4. Parasomnias. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/sleep-and-wakefulness-disorders/parasomnias. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  5. Sateia M. Sleepwalking. International Classification of Sleep Disorders. 3rd ed. Darien, Ill.: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2014. http://www.aasmnet.org/EBooks/ICSD3. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  6. Kotagal S. Sleepwalking and other parasomnias in children. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  7. Foldvary-Schaefer N. Disorders of arousal from non-rapid eye movement sleep in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  8. AskMayoExpert. Parasomnias. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016. Accessed May 10, 2017.
  9. Cochen De Cock V. Sleepwalking. Current Treatment Options in Neurology. 2016;18:6.
  10. Olson EJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 18, 2017.