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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.
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]
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.