Oct 1, 2005 Table of Contents

Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education Web site.

Information from Your Family Doctor

Sleepwalking in Children

Am Fam Physician. 2005 Oct 1;72(7):1306.

What is sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking happens when a child partly wakes up during the night. If your child sleepwalks, he or she may walk or do other things and not remember them the next day. Your child may sit up in bed and rub his or her eyes or fumble with clothes. The child may get out of bed and walk around the room. The child may look dazed, and his or her movements may be clumsy. When you talk to your child, he or she usually will not answer you.

What should I do if my child sleepwalks?

The most important thing you can do is keep dangerous objects away from places that your child can reach. Keep doors and windows closed and locked. You might need to move your child to a bedroom on the ground floor of your home.

When you find your child sleepwalking, gently guide him or her back to bed. Do not yell or make loud noises to wake your child up, and do not shake your child. Do not make your child feel ashamed about sleepwalking.

Should I worry if my child sleepwalks?

No. Most children who sleepwalk do not have emotional problems.

What happens to children who sleepwalk?

Most children outgrow sleepwalking. If your child sleepwalks for a long time, talk to your doctor. Sometimes medicines can treat sleepwalking.

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.

Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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