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SUNY Downstate Sleep Disorders Center

Sleepwalking

What is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking occurs when a person appears to be awake and moving around but is actually asleep. They have no memory of their actions. This disorder is most commonly seen in children aged 8 to 12; however, sleepwalking can occur among younger children, the elderly and adults.

Sleepwalking appears to run in families. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not dangerous to wake a person who is sleepwalking. The sleepwalker simply may be confused or disoriented for a short time upon awakening. Although waking a sleepwalker is not dangerous, sleepwalking itself can be dangerous because the person is unaware of his or her surroundings and can bump into objects or fall down. In most children, it tends to stop as they enter their teens.