Sleepwalking is a common problem that often runs in families. It typically starts in childhood and resolves during the teen years. Sometimes it goes hand in hand with bed-wetting or night terrors.
Sleepwalking usually occurs when a person partially wakes from deep sleep. This generally happens during the first third of the night. At that point, the brain is in a state where it responds poorly to external events. As a result, all sorts of confused behaviors can occur, and it is usually hard to wake the sleepwalker. The next day, people often do not remember that they were walking in their sleep because the chemical state of the brain during the deep sleep impairs formation of memories.
If you walk in your sleep, be sure that your sleeping environment is safe. Keep your bedroom free of sharp objects. Also consider blocking the doors at night to prevent access to stairs or balconies, particularly when travelling away from home.
In addition, try to figure out what might be waking you during deep sleep. Sometimes a sleep disorder (like snoring) is the culprit, so treating it may curb sleepwalking. Also, try going to bed and getting up at the same times every day: A regular sleeping and waking schedule reduces the chances of sleepwalking. Avoid drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages before bedtime. Since stress can also interfere with sleep, stress-reducing techniques or drugs can be used to help prevent sleepwalking. If those efforts don’t work, see a sleep doctor for more help.