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Sleepwalking and children

Question:

Is sleepwalking normal for children?

Answer:

Sleepwalking is a disturbance in which someone gets up out of bed and walks without being aware of the event. It is most often triggered by poor sleep habits.

In children, sleepwalking starts between ages 6 and 12. It occurs more often in boys than girls. Children outgrow sleepwalking in most cases.

If you can, gently steer someone who is sleepwalking safely back to bed. Try to make the home safer by adding gates to stairways and other safety measures to prevent injury.

Trying to stick to a bedtime routine may help reduce the problem.

Images

References

Chokroverty S, Avidan AY. Sleep and its disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 102.

Owens JA. Sleep medicine. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 19.

Review Date 2/16/2017

Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.