NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A new study shows that as many as 1 in 3 adults recall sleepwalking at some point in their lives. One of those adults is Noel Schenck.
She told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge that she began sleepwalking when she was 4 years old.
“I would go into the refrigerator and open the door,” she said.
While sleepwalking is most common in children between the ages of 4 and 8, 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.
“Sleepwalking can be thought of as the state halfway between being fully awake and being fully asleep. The brain is doing things that it would do in wakefulness but it would never recall them in the future,” he explained.
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 told CBS 2 that 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,” Dr. Schulman said.
Sleepwalking has been linked to sleep deprivation, illness, medications, and alcohol. Doctors say that identifying the trigger is the best way to stop the behavior, and that the best way to deal with a sleepwalker is to get them back to bed.
“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,” explained 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.
Have you ever been a sleepwalker? Share your experiences in our comments section below…