Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

If sleepwalking is a problem for you or your child, try these suggestions.

  • Make the environment safe. If sleepwalking has led to injuries or may do so, consider these precautions: Close and lock all windows and exterior doors before bedtime. You might even lock interior doors or place alarms or bells on the doors. Block doorways or stairways with a gate, and move electrical cords and other tripping hazards out of the way. Sleep in a ground-floor bedroom, if possible. Place sharp or fragile objects out of reach, and lock up all weapons. If your child sleepwalks, don't let him or her sleep in a bunk bed.
  • Gently lead the person sleepwalking to bed. It's not necessary to wake up the person. Although it's not dangerous to the person to be awakened, it can be disruptive if he or she becomes confused and disoriented, and possibly agitated.
  • Get adequate sleep. Fatigue can contribute to sleepwalking. If you're sleep deprived, try an earlier bedtime, a more regular sleep schedule or a short nap, especially for toddlers. If possible, avoid sleep-time noises or other stimuli that could interrupt sleep.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing routine before bedtime. Do quiet, calming activities before bed, such as reading books, doing puzzles or soaking in a warm bath. Meditation or relaxation exercises may help, too. Make the bedroom comfortable and quiet for sleep.
  • Put stress in its place. Identify the issues that cause stress and ways to handle the stress. Talk about what's bothering you. Or if your child sleepwalks and seems anxious or stressed, talk with him or her about any concerns. A mental health professional can help.
  • Look for a pattern. For several nights, note — or have another person in your home note — how many minutes after bedtime a sleepwalking episode occurs. If the timing is fairly consistent, this information is useful in planning anticipatory awakenings.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol can interfere with a good night's sleep and may be a trigger for sleepwalking.
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.