Somnambulism: sleepwalkers live dangerously
Sleep walking (somnambulism) is a sleep disorder in which those affected leave the bed, walk around and sometimes perform more complex activities. A new study now shows that apparently more sleepwalkers are injured on their night trips than previously thought.
Somnambulism can be dangerous
Sleepwalkers get out of bed at night, walk around, or in some cases do more complicated jobs like preparing food or even driving. And all without waking up. Therefore, the sleep disorder, which is technically referred to as somnambulism, is dangerous for those affected. An investigation by scientists from Switzerland has now shown that not everyone who injures themselves during the night excursions is aware that they are sleepwalkers.
Injuries in night accidents
Most health experts point out that the assumption that sleepwalkers really shouldn't be awakened is wrong. Because accidents can also occur during nightly - unconscious - activities.
According to a new study by the University Emergency Center at Inselspital Bern, many of those affected are not aware that they are sleepwalkers before injuries from night-time accidents.
Few injured people knew they were sleepwalkers
As the emergency center reports in a press release, the study showed that sleepwalkers can also be seriously injured on their night trips.
For the examination, the emergency center identified eleven out of 620,000 treated patients over 15 years who had been injured while sleeping. “They had fallen out of bed, down the stairs, or even out the window. Four had to stay in hospital with orthopedic injuries for further clarifications - two of them were seriously injured. Only two patients knew that they were sleepwalkers, ”the experts write.
Important information for emergency personnel
According to the information, this was the first systematic recording of injuries in this patient group from a catchment area of two million people. The study was published in the "Journal of Western Emergency Medicine".
As stated in the communication, it awarded “Medscape”, an information portal for doctors, in the field of emergency medicine as a “top story” because the results can provide emergency personnel with important information on the cause of otherwise inexplicable injuries.
“Only a few emergency physicians are aware of the injuries that sleepwalkers can sustain. This includes falls, cuts and other wounds. There are people who are particularly at risk from disposition or medication. Our study should also help to advise them on how to prevent self-harm at night, ”says lead author Dr. med. Thomas Sauter.
Ensure better sleep hygiene
About two to three percent of adults sleepwalk. In children, because of the immature central nervous system, it is between 15 (to six years) and eleven percent (six to eleven years).
According to researchers, sleepwalking is triggered by a genetic predisposition paired with stress. In addition, the risk could be increased by some medication, fever or an overfilled urinary bladder.
All factors that interfere with sleep should be eliminated as far as possible. Simple tips and home remedies for sleeping disorders: Avoid nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, heavy meals and excitement, for example in the form of exciting films, before going to bed. The bedroom should be kept dark.
Since psychological influences such as anger or stress can often trigger sleep disorders, health experts recommend relaxation exercises to reduce stress such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga. (ad)