Monday, July 1, 2019

Sleepwalking and the Brain

Sleepwalking is type of parasomnia (abnormal sleeping pattern). It is more common in children than in adults. There are several different types of NREM parasomnias or sleepwalking. The most common type of sleepwalking tends to occur during the first third of the night in non-REM sleep. This type of sleep is a lighter sleep, and it usually does not involve dreams. The part of the brain that generates complex behaviors is believed to remain awake during "sleep." The sleepwalker will tend to repeat daily activities but likely will not initiate some routine activity that he or she has not done before. During sleeping walking the decision-making part of the brain likely is not awake. There are even some sleepwalkers who try to eat, a condition referred to as nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED). This can be dangerous if they cut themselves while trying to fix a snack or burn themselves on the hot stove.

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