The course and character of sleepwalking in adulthood: a clinical and polysomnographic study

Behav Sleep Med. 2015;13(2):169-77. doi: 10.1080/15402002.2013.845783. Epub 2014 Mar 5.


To describe characteristics of adult sleepwalking (potential triggers and correlates with polysomnography), 52 patients were interviewed regarding their sleepwalking episodes and underwent video-polysomnography on two consecutive nights. Sleepwalking history averaged 12 years and frequent episodes (more than once per week) occurred in 62%. Higher frequency was associated with earlier onset of sleepwalking (p < 0.005) and 53.8% reported dangerous sleepwalking behavior. The most common self-reported triggers were sleep deprivation and stressful events, while no specific trigger was reported in 37% of patients. More awakening from slow-wave sleep was associated with a higher frequency of sleepwalking episodes (p < 0.001). A longer history of sleepwalking was associated with more sleepwalking episodes, even without the presence of sleep comorbidities or other known precipitating factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Polysomnography*
  • Self Report
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Deprivation*
  • Somnambulism / etiology*
  • Somnambulism / psychology*