Sleep-walking occurs in a particular state of sleep. Sleep consists of two states – dreaming (REM) and non-dreaming sleep. They alternate – starting with the non-dreaming type – throughout the night, in a roughly 90-minute cycle. Sleep-walking occurs in the non-dreaming state, when the body’s musculature is capable of action. It doesn’t happen in REM sleep because, then, the body is – amazingly – deeply paralysed (breathing is automatic). It was known that sleep-walking ran in families, and recently a gene has been found that correlates with the condition. As with most non-dreaming sleep disorders, the individual usually has no memory of the events on waking in the morning. It’s more a problem for others.
There have been remarkable accounts of sleep-walkers, say, getting ready for work and setting off along the road – some even driving their car.
Others have been found to go to the kitchen and feast during the night, and there have been many reports of male sleep-walkers peeing in the wardrobe.
A woman reported that her boyfriend would often sleep-walk downstairs and do the housework! He was convinced that she had been nocturnally busy. Needless to say, she didn’t complain about his behaviour.
One young couple, having started to live together, were worried that their flat might have a ghost. On several occasions in the morning, internal doors were found open and the TV switched on. It transpired that the girl – fast asleep – was getting up in the night, going around the flat, opening doors, and putting on the TV.
What may hypnotherapy do to help? Sleep-walking does seem to be linked to stress, and hypnosis may be used to bring about relaxation and a calm frame of mind. Hypnotic techniques also exist for investigating underlying causes. Suggestions may be given that instead of sleep-walking they will turn over and go into a deeper sleep.
We offer treatment for sleep-walking in Egham, Surrey, London, etc.