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Genetic Inheritance And Sleep Terrors In Early Childhood Are Main Causes Of Sleepwalking, Study Finds

Children who suffer from sleep terrors in early childhood are more likely to develop sleepwalking later, according to researchers.

The study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, observed nearly 2,000 children in Quebec over 12 years, and found that nearly one third of the children who suffered from sleep terrors in their early childhood became sleepwalkers later.

Children of the sleepwalking parents are also likely to become sleepwalkers. The study found that 47.4 percent of the children with one parent with a history of sleepwalking took nighttime walks. In case of children with both parents who used to be sleepwalkers, the number rose to 61.5 percent.

Sleepwalking, formally know as somnambulism, is a behavioral disorder that happens during REM stages 3 and 4, or deep sleep, and results in walking or performing other complex actions while asleep.

The prevalence of sleepwalking in general population is estimated to be between 1 and 15 percent. There is also a higher chance for sleepwalking in children who experience bedwetting.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Hansa Bhargava” author_title=”Pediatrician with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta”]

It’s definitely genetic. Prevention seems to be the only cure in these situations. Parents need to make sure their child is not overtired, over-scheduled and stressed out. Providing a nice calming bedtime ritual will actually help the child calm himself down before going to sleep.


As reported by CNN, sleep terrors in the study occurred between ages 36 months and 5 years old, but they can happen all the way to age of 13. For some children they can be transient, having terrors before age 4 but not after. For other children it could be persistent, continuing after age 5.

According to National Sleep Foundation, sleepwalk-proofing the house by removing sharp objects, not using a bunk-bed and placing safety gates on stairs, is a good way to prevent injuries to children while sleepwalking.

In other health related news here on Immortal News, 30 minutes of lost sleep per day throughout working week could lead to long-term consequences for the human body’s weight and metabolism.

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