7 Sleepwalking Symptoms

Sleepwalking is a condition that is most commonly noted among children, but can affect anyone at any age. Formally diagnosed as somnambulism, this disorder manifests itself during the sleep cycle and causes individuals to exhibit walking and other behaviors while asleep. Often, the sleepwalker’s eyes remain open, but portray a glassy look. The person can almost appear unresponsive, even though they are ambulating and functioning to a degree.

This phenomenon of combined sleep and wakefulness often takes place within an hour or two into the sleep cycle. While it can be unnerving to see someone in this state, it is harmless in most cases. In more extreme situations, the sleepwalker may try to climb out of a window, urinate in an unusual area, or become agitated, causing injury to themselves or someone else. The severity of the episode will determine if medical intervention is required.

The exact cause of sleepwalking remains a mystery. While there is no cure, there have been studies showing how the following signs and symptoms may be linked to it.

1. Genetics

Genetics may be partly to blame for those that sleepwalk. Multiple studies have shown that a particular gene identified as HLA and a variant called HLA-DQB1 have been contributors to this sleeping disorder. During closer examination of these genes, scientists profiled dozens of people that sleepwalk, and their relatives. They were then compared with the exact same number of individuals that had no history or diagnosis of any type of sleep disorder.

The results proved that 35% of the sleepwalkers had the genetic markers, compared to just 13% of the healthy individuals without a history of somnambulism. Further research has found that people with biological parents having a history of sleepwalking are more vulnerable to the condition and will most likely also experience it to some degree.