Sleepwalking is a type of sleep disorder that occurs when a person walks or does another activity such as talking or eating while still asleep.
The normal sleep cycle has distinct stages, from light drowsiness to deep sleep. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the eyes move quickly and vivid dreaming is most common. Each night people go through several cycles of non-REM and REM sleep.
Sleepwalking (somnambulism) most often occurs during deep, non-REM sleep (stage 3 or stage 4 sleep) early in the night. If it occurs during REM sleep, it is part of REM behavior disorder and tends to happen near morning.
The cause of sleepwalking in children is usually unknown. Fatigue, lack of sleep, and anxiety are associated with sleepwalking. In adults, walking, talking or eating while asleep may be associated with mental disorders, reactions to drugs or alcohol, and some medical conditions.
It is important to learn about sleep disorders and symptoms if you suspect you or a family member have problems sleeping. Read more about sleepwalking here.