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Sleepwalking: Habit or Disease?

As we navigate the complexities of this mysterious condition, understanding and support from loved ones play a pivotal role in managing its effects.

by Anila Nayab - 17 Apr, 2024 1735
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Many of us have heard tales of individuals walking or talking in their sleep. I, too, am afflicted by this peculiar phenomenon. Since childhood, I've been prone to wandering and conversing during my slumber. My incessant chatter during waking hours seems to extend seamlessly into the night, much to my mother's exasperation.

One memorable morning, my grandfather intervened, discerning that my nocturnal activities were not mere habits but symptomatic of a deeper issue. This affliction, known as somnambulism, afflicts many, myself included, with no definitive cure in sight.

Night after night, I would unwittingly embark on midnight strolls, much to the consternation of my family. My mother, often roused from her slumber, would gently guide me back to bed, lamenting my incessant chatter even in the realm of dreams.

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Echoes of my family's experiences with sleepwalking reverberate through the years. Tales of uncles carrying heavy lamps down flights of stairs in their sleep serve as eerie reminders of our familial predisposition to this curious condition.

Speculation abounds regarding the origins of somnambulism. Some attribute it to supernatural forces, while others suggest it's an inherited trait or a consequence of excessive daytime talkativeness. Regardless of its roots, the impact is profound, disrupting not only sleep but also daily functioning.

Dr. Shehbaz, a psychiatrist at Lady Reading Hospital, sheds light on the medical nuances of somnambulism. Stress, anxiety, and genetic factors can all contribute to its onset. Children and older adults are particularly susceptible, often engaging in potentially dangerous activities during episodes of sleepwalking.

The treatment for somnambulism is not straightforward. Dr. Shehbaz recommends creating a safe sleep environment, free from potential hazards like sharp objects or open windows. Additionally, managing stress levels and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help mitigate symptoms.

Sleepwalking, while enigmatic, underscores the intricate relationship between consciousness and the subconscious mind. As we navigate the complexities of this mysterious condition, understanding and support from loved ones play a pivotal role in managing its effects.