Study: Adult Sleepwalking On The Rise

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A new study shows that as many as one-in-three adults recall sleepwalking at some point in their lives.

Noel Schenck, a sleepwalking adult, said it began when she was 4 years-old.

“I would go into the refrigerator and open the door,” said Schenck.

While sleepwalking is most common in children between the ages of four and eight, a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine found that it is more prevalent in adults than previously thought.

Sleep expert Dr. David Schulman described sleepwalking as somewhere between being awake and being asleep.

“The brain is doing things that it would do in wakefulness but it would never recall them in the future,” said Dr. Schulman.

People can perform a variety of activities while asleep, including sitting up, household chores, even driving a car, according to doctors. If woken up during this state they are often unaware of the events that have taken place.

Experts say they are not sure what causes sleepwalking.

“There are some genetic contributors. We know that if your parents were sleepwalkers, you’re more likely to be a sleepwalker,” said Dr. Schulman.

Sleepwalking has been linked to sleep deprivation, illness, medications and alcohol. Identifying the trigger, according to doctors, is the best way to stop the behavior.

“It’s probably best to try to redirect a sleepwalker back to bed, than to try to shake them awake and ask them what they were doing,” said Dr. Schulman.

The study also showed that people who suffer from depression were three times more likely to sleepwalk than those who were not depressed.

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