Sleep walking has been an occasional occurrence throughout my life. I don’t really remember doing it when I was little, but as a teen I began sleep walking around my house. It happened very rarely, and I would just forget about it and chalk it up to a funny random thing I sometimes did.
But in the past few years my sleep walking has become more frequent. One day I remember getting up and reaching for my phone that I always leave on my bedside table. It had mysteriously vanished in the night. I looked everywhere for it and as it was on silent I couldn’t easily find it by calling it. I searched and searched but eventually just gave up. That night I was going through some clothes that I had piled up and found my phone neatly wrapped inside one of my t-shirts.
“Here we go again” I thought.
I knew that in the middle of the night I must have gotten up and walked into the next room, gone through my bag and wrapped my phone up in the t-shirt.
On numerous other occasions, I had walked around the house and put things in places they shouldn’t be. I even began hiding things from myself and making sure doors were locked just in case I decided to actually take a walk outside. Recently my sleep walking habits have evolved again and I’m told I have been sitting up and talking in my sleep, asking to be woken up!
So I decided to do some investigating and get down to the core as to why this was happening and what seemed to be triggering it.
Studies show that Sleep disorders such as sleepwalking arise when normal physiological systems are active at inappropriate times. It’s not yet understood why the brain issues commands to the muscles during certain phases of sleep, but these commands are usually suppressed by other neurological mechanisms. At times this suppression can be incomplete—because of genetic or environmental factors or physical immaturity—and actions that normally occur during wakefulness emerge in sleep.
So sleep walking is more common in Children as the brain and other systems are still maturing. It can also be genetic, but none of these apply to me. So that leaves me with ‘the environmental factor’. What outside stimuli was causing me to sleep walk?
I began analyzing the environmental factors that could be affecting me. I looked at what was happening in my life at the times I was sleep walking. The first time I remember it happening was when I was about to leave college. It was a huge decision for me as I had not completed my course but felt that I needed to peruse other avenues. I remember plenty of restless nights tossing and turning over wether or not I was making the right decision.
Another time I had been working everyday for almost 3 years with no break. My body clock was completely out of sync and I was under tremendous amounts of stress. All of the occasions pointed to stress and anxiety. Now looking back, I remember thinking that I just wanted to chuck my phone out of the window as I was dealing with so many stressful calls. Low and behold in my sleep I hid my phone and smothered it in clothes so it could not be heard or found! The other factor was that every time a ‘sleep walk’ happened I would wake up feeling boiling hot and damp with sweat. Nice.
I then found out that temperature control is also a trigger for sleep walking. It’s almost like my body was over heating and trying to wake itself up but couldn’t become fully conscious.
After my research I’m now trying to implement the following:
- A regular sleep schedule
- A consistent controlled temperature when sleeping
- Regular Yoga and meditation
- Decrease stress levels
I’ve come to the conclusion that stress is the main cause of my sleep walking but there are many other reasons why this could happen. My Sleep disorder is on the milder scale but it can have a serious effect on peoples lives. I’ve included a link with information and help for anyone suffering from a sleep disorder