Adult sleepwalking is serious condition that impacts health-related quality of life

A new study found that adult sleepwalking is a potentially serious condition that may induce violent behaviors and affect health-related quality of life.

"We found a higher frequency of daytime sleepiness, fatigue, insomnia, depressive and and altered quality of life in patients with sleepwalking compared to the control group," said Yves Dauvilliers, MD, PhD, the study's principal investigator and lead author. Dr. Dauvilliers is professor of physiology and neurology and director of the lab at Gui-de-Chauliac Hospital in Montpellier, France. "What would usually be considered a benign condition, adult sleepwalking is a potentially serious condition and the consequences of sleepwalking episodes should not be ignored."

Results show that 22.8 percent of sleepwalkers presented with nightly episodes and 43.5 percent presented with weekly episodes. Additionally, a positive history of violent sleep related behaviors was found in 58 percent, including 17 percent who experienced at least one episode involving injuries to the sleepwalker or bed partner that required medical care. Reported injuries included bruises, nose bleeds and fractures, and one participant had sustained multiple fractures and serious after jumping out of a third-floor window.

Sleepwalking is a common parasomnia affecting up to four percent of adults. It involves complex behaviors that occur during arousals from non- (NREM) sleep. During an episode of sleepwalking the brain is partially awake, resulting in complex behaviors, and partially in NREM sleep with no of actions.

According to the authors, this is the largest on adult sleepwalkers seen in a clinic, using face-to-face clinical interviews, standardized questionnaires, and objective assessment by to investigate the clinical characteristics, consequences and comorbidities of sleepwalking.

The study, appearing in the March issue of the journal SLEEP, involved a prospective case-control study of 100 adult patients in whom primary sleepwalking was diagnosed from June 2007 to January 2011. Exclusion criteria included a positive clinical history of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a similar parasomnia that involves violent dream-related behaviors emerging during REM sleep. The age of the sleepwalkers ranged from 18 to 58 years with a median age of 30. Results were compared with 100 healthy control subjects.

Triggering factors that increased both the frequency and severity of episodes were reported in 59 percent, related mainly to stressful events, strong positive emotions, sleep deprivation, and less frequently to drug or alcohol intake or intense evening physical activity. All of these factors promote increased slow wave sleep (SWS) and NREM sleep instability.

"Sleepwalking is an underdiagnosed condition that may be clearly associated with daytime consequences and mood disturbances leading to a major impact on quality of life," said Dauvilliers. "The burden of in adults needs to be highlighted and emphasized."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sleep deprivation used to diagnose sleepwalking

Mar 19, 2008

Somnambulism (sleepwalking), which usually involves misperception and unresponsiveness to the environment, mental confusion and amnesia about sleepwalking episodes, affects up to 4 percent of adults. There has been a sharp ...

Lack of sleep can provoke sleepwalking

Apr 02, 2008

Sleepwalkers are advised to keep a regular bedtime to avoid unwanted evening strolls, according to research from the Université de Montréal. Somnambulism, which affects up to four percent of adults, can cause mental confusion ...

Scientists find genetic basis for sleepwalking

Feb 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists studying a large family with four generations of sleepwalkers have traced the condition to one section of a single chromosome: chromosome 20, and have found that carrying just one copy of this ...

Recommended for you

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

6 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

6 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

8 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

13 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

User comments