Sleepwalking In Kids- Causes, Symptoms And Remedies
If can be unnerving to see your child wandering the hall after you put him to bed, looking dazed and confused. If your child is sleepwalking, you are not alone. Pediatric sleepwalking, or sleepwalking in kids, is seen around 15% of the children. It occurs most commonly between the ages 4 and 8 or during preteens. If you are interested to know more about sleepwalking, or if you are concerned about your child’s sleepwalking, read on.
What Are The Causes Of Sleepwalking In Kids?
There could be many causes for sleepwalking in kids:
The most common cause of sleepwalking is genetic or hereditary, that is, a parent or grandparent might also be sleepwalking
Some medications taken for other medical conditions are known to cause sleepwalking
If your child has enlarged tonsils or adenoids, it can cause sleepwalking
Noise, light or other such uncomfortable sleeping environment
Having a full bladder
Some sleeping disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, can also cause sleepwalking
What Are The Symptoms Of Sleepwalking In Kids?
While people assume that sleepwalking means actual “walking” around the house or moving from one room to another, in reality, it might not be so explicit.Some common symptoms of that your child is sleepwalking are:
The child getting up from sleep 2-3 hours after falling asleep, and suddenly sitting up on the bed or starting to walk. Although the child is “up”, in reality, you can see that the child is clearly in his sleep
Your child’s eyes might be either open or closed
Your child will be confused or disoriented if suddenly woken up
The child might speak in a blurred, unambiguous way
Is It Ok To Wake A Sleepwalking Child?
Many people believe that it is dangerous to wake a sleepwalking child. This is not true. But while it is not dangerous, it is not advised as well. This is because a sleepwalking child is actually in deep sleep and if you wake him up midway, he will feel pretty confused and disoriented. So waking him up midway won’t be a fun experience. Instead, it is much better for everyone if you guide the sleepwalking child back to bed.
How To Treat Sleepwalking In Kids?
If you suspect your child is sleepwalking, talk to his pediatrician. Usually, the doctor will be able to diagnose the condition by hearing your account of what happened. Mostly, no treatment is advised. However, the doctor might try to find the root cause for sleepwalking. If there is any underlying medical condition that is causing your child to sleepwalk, then that condition might be treated. The doctor might also suggest a sleep study to rule out problems such as sleep apnea.
Sometimes, doctor might suggest a course called “scheduled awakening”. In this, you will be asked to monitor your child’s sleepwalking patterns and note down the time when the sleepwalking usually starts. Once you get a hang of the timing, you will have to wake your child 15 minutes before the time sleepwalking usually starts. This will reset your child’s sleep cycle and reduce sleepwalking.
How To Prevent Sleepwalking In Kids?
One of the best ways to prevent sleepwalking in kids is to help them develop good sleeping habits. A good relaxation routine will increase the chances of your child sleeping through the night. Here are some ways to build a routine:
Make sure your child sleeps (or goes to bed) at the same time everyday
Build a good sleep routine that is relaxing. It include a warm bath, a short story, and even some soothing music
The room in which the child sleep needs to be dark and quiet, and the bedding soft and comfortable
Adjust the air condition so that the temperature of the house is not too cold or hot
Ensure your baby does not drink too much liquids post late evening so that they will not be disturbed by a full bladder
Ensure no caffeine or sugar during dinner time
Ensure that your child is away from all stressful conditions that may have triggered sleepwalking in your kid
Take care that your kid gets sufficient sleep in the night
What Are Some Of The Precautions To Take If Your Kid Is Sleepwalking?
Consider doing the following if your child is prone to sleepwalking:
Lock the doors and windows of the room where your child sleeps
Remove any items such as toys from the floor that can be a tripping hazard
Remove sharp objects from the room to avoid accidents
If you have bunk bed for your kids, make sure your sleepwalking child doesn’t sleep on the top bunk
Fix safety gates near stairways
Do not keep objects that break in the room
Consider installing sensor alarms on the doors
If you have any other concerns or are very anxious, please consult your child’s doctor.
As a parent, it can be very intimidating to know that you have a kid who is sleepwalking. But remember it is completely natural and you child will get over it as he grows up. So just stay positive so that you can support your child to grow out of this without worrying him or putting any kind of pressure on him.
Have any of you gone through this situation? Share in the comments section below if your child walks in his sleep and what have you been doing to help him overcome this condition.