Sleepwalking anxiety

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Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

A Stanford University study showed that 3.6% of Americans sleepwalk. For some people, the fear of sleepwalking can be anxiety inducing.

The following article provides an insight into someone with sleepwalking anxiety, and their struggles to sleep knowing they are prone to sleepwalking.

Sometimes when I’m stressed I tend to sleepwalk more. I don’t know if it happens more when people are in the same house, but I’ve been known to sleepwalk and also scream.

I’ve always had an active mind. I was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD when I was a child and have always found it difficult to sleep.

I remember my parents telling me whenever I would do this. One time I threw my duvet down the stairs and went back to bed. Another time my mum woke me up on the stairs whilst I was looking through the notes on my phone.

Later in life I would sometimes have night terrors and run out the door. Once my flatmate was coming back from nightshift and I startled him and it was so embarrassing. I have also been told I scream in my sleep and I wish I knew why. I don’t remember most of the dreams I was having when this happens.

It’s gotten to the point that I am too scared to sleep over in a high rise hotel with a balcony in case I sleepwalk and fall over the edge. If I worry about it before sleep, surely my thoughts will carry into my dreams?

When travelling I put a chair in front of the door in case I sleepwalk naked into the hotel corridor. I know I’d be locked out and it would be so embarrassing. I’m hoping that the door hitting the chair will cause me to wake up just before I get out.

The thoughts cause me great anxiety and the anxiety often causes night terrors and sometimes sleepwalking. I don’t know what to do.

Sleepwalking seems to be more common than previously thought. There can be a number of reasons as to why this occurs, ranging from lack of sleep, to diet and alcohol/drug misuse to a family history.

The NHS in the UK states that sleepwalking is usually harmless, but there are instances when sleepwalking should be addressed with a family GP:

Occasional sleepwalking episodes do not usually need medical attention. Sleepwalking is rarely a sign of anything serious and may get better with time, particularly in children. But, you should consider seeing a GP if sleepwalking happens frequently, you're concerned a person may be at risk of injuring themselves or others, or the episodes continue or start in adult life.

NHS- Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking can be a problem, affecting day to day life. If this is the case, or a fear of sleepwalking prevents a good nights rest, professional help is advised.

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DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

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