Sleepwalking: How to Stop it

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Simple steps that can put an end to a dangerous condition

Unless you’ve ever experienced sleep walking yourself, it can be tough to understand how scary it feels to know that you transported yourself somewhere new without ever waking up. And if you have sleep walked, then you know how eager you can be to put an end to it as fast as possible. There are many different reasons why sleep walking happens, and the important thing is to talk to your doctor to discuss different treatment options.

As part of your treatment, you might spend time in a sleep lab being observed so that the specialists can learn why you might be sleep walking. You also might be offered hypnosis, where you are hypnotized and then told to wake up as soon as your feet touch the floor. (The idea is that when you are fast asleep and start to go somewhere, you’ll instantly wake up.) Another option: You could be taught stress-reduction techniques like meditation, since a high amount of daily stress can be a culprit.

While you’re exploring the different treatments, you still need to take certain precautions so that you don’t hurt yourself or someone else. First, lock the doors and windows and either hide your house keys in a place where you don’t normally put them or give them to someone else to store. This will keep you from leaving the house. Do the same with your car keys, so you can’t get behind the wheel and go for a drive in the middle of an episode.

Next, get rid of anything in your room that could be dangerous, like razors, scissors, knives, or even prescription medications. Lock them up in a room that's far away from your bedroom. If you live with a partner or roommate, tell them to ask you what you’re doing if they see you wake up. If you’re sleepwalking, you won’t answer or your words will come out sounding strange and confused. If that happens, tell them to gently lead you back to bed. If you live alone, put a few objects in your way that you might bump into (so you'll wake up). And as a last resort, get an alarm system and set it so that if a door opens, an alarm loudly goes off, which will wake you up.