Sleepwalking occurs when there is a dissociation between ‘body sleep’ and ‘mind sleep.’ It is defined as a parasomnia–an undesired event that occurs during sleep. Sometimes sleepwalking involves just the action of walking for a short period, and it is mostly harmless. Other times, however, sleepwalking episodes may involve doing additional actions such as eating, talking, using the bathroom, and even driving. For this reason, it can be dangerous.
1. Sleepwalking is More Common in Childhood than in Adulthood
Children in the age group of 3-12 have the highest prevalence of sleepwalking. Up to 16.7% of children these ages sleepwalk. As people reach teenagerhood and adulthood, they are less likely to sleepwalk. A 1997 sleepwalking study published in The Journal of Neurology consisted of 11,220 subjects aged 33 to 60 years. The study found that sleepwalking had occurred in 3.9% of adult men and 3.1% of women. It was also found that those who reported sleepwalking in childhood were more likely to sleepwalk during adulthood. Adult men, sleepwalkers had an 88.9% positive history of sleepwalking in childhood, and in women, 84.5%.