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rising from bed and walking or performing other complex motor behavior during an apparent state of sleep; much mystery has been attached to this, although it is no more mysterious than dreaming. The chief difference between the two is that the sleepwalker, besides dreaming, is also using the part of the brain that stimulates walking. This usually occurs during the first third of the night and lasts for a few minutes to a half hour. The sleeper is relatively unresponsive, not easily awakened, and usually amnesic for the episode later. It is most likely to happen during periods of emotional stress and usually ceases when the source of anxiety is removed. In many cases it occurs only once or twice and does not happen again. If it recurs frequently (called sleepwalking disorder) it may stem from serious emotional distress (see sleep disorders). Called also somnambulism.
sleepwalking disorder repeated episodes of sleepwalking.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
1. A disorder of sleep involving complex motor acts that occurs primarily during the first third of the night but not during REM sleep. Synonym(s): oneirodynia activa, sleepwalking, somnambulance
2. A form of hysteria in which purposeful behavior is forgotten.
[L. somnus, sleep, + ambulo, to walk]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
The act or an instance of walking or performing another activity associated with wakefulness while asleep or in a sleeplike state. Also called noctambulism, somnambulism.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
sleepwalkingSomnambulism Psychiatry A sleep disorder characterized by walking or other activity while seemingly asleep Etiology, children Fatigue, sleep loss, anxiety Adults Mental disorders, drug reactions, abuse substances, alcohol, medical conditions–eg, partial complex seizures, elderly organic brain syndrome, REM behavior disorders; the activity may include sitting up and appearing awake, while actually asleep, arising and walking around, or complex activities–eg, moving furniture, going to bathroom, dressing and undressing, and other activities, including driving a car; the episode can be very brief–a few secs or mins or last for 30+ mins; sleep walkers may be confused or disoriented after awakening; injuries caused by such things as tripping and loss of balance are common for sleep walkers; SW is most common in children aged 6 to 12 yrs old and may run in families.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
sleepwalkingA state of dissociated sleeping and waking common in children, especially boys, and lasting usually for only a few minutes, in which the child gets out of bed and moves about. Sleepwalking in childhood is never purposeful and is of little importance so long as danger from falls is avoided. The child should be guided gently back to bed. Sleepwalking in adults usually has a hysterical basis.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005