Sleepwalking in children: causes and treatment
The second name of "sleepwalking" is somnambulism, or( in Latin translation) "dreaming".Being in such a state, a person performs actions that are outwardly indistinguishable from the conscious ones, in spite of the fact that he is actually in a state of sleep.
This disorder in children happens quite often.Approximately five percent of the total number of children sleepwalking is observed systematically, while in a third - somnambulism is observed in isolated cases.More often this kind of disorders is manifested in males.Usually the manifestation of the disappearance disappears closer to the end of puberty.Table of contents: Causes of sleepwalking Signs of sleepwalking in childhood What to do with the parents of lunatics
In most cases, sleepwalking begins to appear around the age of six, although the facts of the disorder appear in both younger and older age groups.According to some experts, the brain of the child receives too much information, and the process of digestion and "digestion" of it stretches for a long period and continues even in sleep.Such a load on the brain leads to wakefulness during sleep.
Note: if such a condition is seen in a child, parents should not panic at all, after all, official medicine does not consider sleepwalking a disease.
Causes of sleepwalking
The causes of somnambulism are not completely revealed, but the mechanism of this phenomenon has been studied quite well.As is known, the process of human sleep is divided into successive stages.Immediately after falling asleep, there comes a phase of slow sleep, which lasts about an hour and a half.Most often at this time, and manifests itself as sleepwalking, although there were cases of falling closer to the morning.
When immersed in sleep in the human brain braking processes predominate, but they do not affect the areas of the brain responsible for motor activity, or braking in these departments will be very shallow.As a result of these processes, the body is in a state of wakefulness.
Important! A significant role in the emergence of sleepwalking is played by genetic predisposition.According to some scientists in the twentieth chromosome of DNA, a separate part has been found, in the presence of which the manifestation of somnambulism is much more frequent.Identify a specific gene that provokes sleepwalking, yet fails, but there is a theory that this is either a gene responsible for the stage of slow sleep, or it is several genes.
There is a suggestion that a snap may be triggered by a change in magnetic fields, but this is rather a theory.
The following factors can lead to sleepwalking:
- sleep disorders;
- presence of epileptic syndrome;
- presence in the body of parasites;
- children's fears and anxieties;
- excessive training loads;
- lesions of the nervous system of an infectious nature;
- various chronic diseases of internal organs;
- child's neuralgia of the nervous system;
- stress after punishment, quarrel.
Symptoms of sleepwalking in childhood
When a sleep disorder occurs, a child gets out of bed with his eyes open, his expression is detached, his pupils are narrow, his eyes frozen and indifferent.Children in this state can get dressed, walk around the room, often leave the room, move objects.But despite the motor activity, the "sleepwalker" is in a state of sleep and during the movement the surrounding environment does not completely control, stumbles, bumps into objects, often inflicting various injuries.There were recorded cases when children in a dream went out the window, getting serious injuries.
Being in a state of somnambulism, the child does not react to external stimuli, does not perceive a speech addressed to him.
Important! When awakened during the process of ascendancy, the child is in utter confusion and absolutely does not understand what is happening around.Waking up in the morning, he does not remember anything of what happened at night, or the memories are very vague.
If the child is talking in a dream, his eyes are open during sleep, falling asleep sitting or in another position unusual for sleeping, then these signs may indicate demotion.The state of sleepwalking usually lasts from ten to fifteen minutes, in rare cases, the duration is as few seconds, and an hour, and even more.
What to do with the parents of lunatic children
If parents notice that their child "walks" at night, panic and beat the alarm is definitely not worth it.Should, without trying to wake up, calmly spend it to bed and gently lay.Even if the child wakes up, nothing terrible will happen, just he can be very frightened.In this case, you need to calm a child in a soft, gentle voice and put it on the bed.In the near future it is desirable to conduct a full examination with specialists in order to identify diseases that can provoke somnambulism.Doctors themselves will appoint all the necessary procedures and research.
But if there are still cases of sleepwalking, the main task of parents is to create the most safe conditions for the child during his nightly adventures:
- If the house is private, multi-storey, then the children's room must be located on the firstFloor.
- The entrance door to the dwelling is equipped with reliable locks, which the sleepwalker is not able to unlock on its own and go out into the street.
- Windows in all areas of housing must be securely locked and draped with curtains.
- In the bedroom itself, furniture is desirable to have rounded corners and at night it is necessary to remove all trauma and flammable items.
Advice! It is very important to note that over a somnambulist child, in no case should one mock or scold him for it.Such actions can cause irreparable harm to his mental health.
As such, there is no cure for sleepwalking.This condition disappears with age without assistance. There are a number of recommendations that can be minimized to the extent that the number of snickers is kept.It is necessary:
- To create a comfortable psychological climate for the child, to protect him from family quarrels, various childhood experiences and other situations that cause stress.
- During the day to regulate the time spent in front of a TV or computer, because these things are quite tired and overexcite the nervous system.It is important to ensure a calm, full-fledged sleep of sufficient duration.
- Closer to sleep it is desirable to choose a quiet, slow-moving, because even strong positive emotions lead the psyche into an active tone.
- About one hour before the rebound, the child can be drunk with tea with melissa, which has an excellent soothing effect.
- Just before bedtime, it is recommended that you take a warm bath, possibly with soothing herbs - the same melissa, lavender and others.
- If the child has no predisposition to allergies, then under the pillow you can put a canvas bag with hop, and use aromatic soothing oils, for example, lavender, geranium, chamomile, sandalwood or others.
When sleepwalking treatment is recommended in the presence of diseases that provoke it, both mental and any others.But here it is not the somnambulism itself that is treated, but the concomitant diseases.In cases where there are very frequent interruptions and lead to traumas of the child, or to the threat of life when trying to go out, hypnotherapy brings a very tangible effect.When the cause is stress or neurosis, it is advisable to consult a child with a psychologist or psychotherapist.
From all of the above, you can draw several conclusions:
- In the event of the detection of sleepwalking in children, parents should in no case be frightened and panicked.After all, this condition has been studied extremely little, but it is precisely known that this is not a disease, there is no danger to life and health( provided that safety rules are observed).
- Somonambulism is widely spread among children of early and middle age, but it disappears, as a rule, independently during puberty.
- It is strictly forbidden to engage in self-medication of this phenomenon.
- It is necessary to thoroughly and objectively evaluate the psychological microclimate in the family, to try to identify the factors that provoke the dream, and to protect their baby from them as much as possible.Family quarrels and conflicts in the child should be completely eliminated.
Any violent emotions, fatigue, anxiety, bad sleep, and much more can provoke this phenomenon.If a child finds somnambulism, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive examination of the body in a medical institution for the possible detection of provoking diseases.But the main task of parents is to comply with all safety rules and take all measures to exclude the smallest opportunities for injuries and accidents for their "night traveler".
Tokareva Larissa, pediatrician