Mayo Clinic sleep centers have experience with all types of parasomnias (undesirable physical events or experiences that occur during sleep), including more complex parasomnias that may, for example, have features of both sleepwalking and REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD).
Some medications used to treat other disorders (such as insomnia or depression) can lead to sleepwalking, as can arousals caused by other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In addition, other disorders such as seizures can easily be confused with sleepwalking. Mayo Clinic sleep specialists have the knowledge and tools to sort through multiple sleep issues and accurately diagnose the cause of a patient's sleep problems. Read more about sleepwalking diagnosis.
Treatment varies by individual, but usually includes making the sleep environment safer and making other lifestyle changes to decrease the likelihood of episodes. It might also include anticipatory awakenings or hypnosis — highly effective options that are usually preferred over medication. Read more about sleepwalking treatment options.
Sleepwalking involves getting up out of bed and walking while in a state of sleep. Sleepwalking is not uncommon in children. It usually peaks somewhere between the ages of 4 and 12 and goes away on its own in adolescence. It generally doesn't indicate a neurological or psychiatric disorder, and treatment is usually limited to keeping the sleepwalker safe from injury. Medication is usually reserved for situations where an episode may be embarrassing or disruptive to others (like when a child goes to camp, or sleeps over at a friend's house).
Sleepwalking is less common in adults and has a higher chance of being confused with or coexisting with other sleep disorders. Sleepwalking in adults also carries a higher risk of endangering others.