Sleepwalkers Need Enough Sleep

April 1, 2018, Montreal – if​ you want sleepwalkers to​ roam around the whole night, deprive them of​ sleep. it​ may seem ironic, but a​ Canadian study of​ 40 sleepwalkers shows that when sleep-deprived, people have a​ greater tendency to​ sleepwalk.
According to​ University of​ Montreal’s Dr. Antonio Zadra and his colleagues, the study supports recommendations for sleepwalkers to​ “maintain a​ regular sleep cycle and avoid sleep deprivation.”
While sleep may seem like a​ steady state, it​ actually consists of​ 5 stages that cycle throughout the night. There are 5 stages of​ sleep including the REM (rapid eye movement) stage. a​ complete sleep cycle takes about 90 to​ 100 minutes and a​ regular sleep consists of​ 4 to​ 5 complete sleep cycles.
In Zadra’s study, sleepwalkers spent a​ night at​ a​ laboratory where they were videotaped. Researchers observed their movements while they were asleep. Most sleepwalkers don’t actually sleepwalk every night.
The researchers found out that many of​ the participants in​ the research had actually sleepwalked. Some of​ them did so more than once that night, for a​ total of​ 32 sleepwalking episodes.
On the following day, the participants were kept awake for 25 hours straight to​ find out how sleep deprivation would affect the sleepwalkers.
When they went to​ bed in​ the morning, they were all exhausted and were trying to​ get sleep at​ an​ unusual time. The researchers noted that after staying awake for 25 hours, the participants showed much different sleeping patterns compare to​ the night before. During their catch-up sleep period, 36 people sleepwalked for a​ total of​ 92 sleepwalking episodes.
This result brought Zadra and his colleagues to​ conclude that sleep deprivation may encourage sleepwalking in​ sleepwalkers. The findings could help in​ diagnosing and treating people for sleepwalking.
While this study didn't include a​ comparison group of​ people who have never sleepwalked, in​ the past work of​ Zadra’s team, however, they found that healthy people with no history of​ sleepwalking weren't more likely to​ sleepwalk when sleep deprived.
This study is​ included in​ the March edition of​ the Annals of​ Neurology.

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