For Sleepwalkers, 8 Safety Tips from the Movie “Side Effects”


While enjoying the new suspense thriller, “Side Effects” with my lovely wife this cold evening in Goshen, I could not help but think of my patients, who suffer from sleepwalking, insomnia, or depression, as one of the lead characters from the movie committed murder while sleepwalking.

Maurice M. Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD (Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.) and her team interviewed 15,929 Americans ages 18 and older from 15 states and found that 30 percent of them had a history of sleepwalking.

If you or someone you know sleepwalks, please follow these safety precautions.

1. Consider changing the medicine. Talk to your doctor about changing the medication if the one you are taking can cause sleepwalking.

2. Sleep on the ground floor, even while traveling. People who sleepwalk can fall down the stairs and get seriously hurt.

3. Double lock the door. This will prevent the person from walking out in sleep and getting hurt.

4. Cover windows with heavy drapes. This will prevent face injury if the person walks into the window.

5. Remove the furniture from the center of the room. This would minimize tripping on the furniture.

6. Install motion detectors in the kitchen. Sleepwalkers can walk into the kitchen, turn the stove on, and leave it on.

7. Keep the knives and other injurious objects away.

8. Keep the injurious items locked and safe. These include medication bottles, Drano, antifreeze and other injurious items.

These are the common safety tips I share with my patients. They are not all inclusive. Please discuss your individual case with your physician and follow your physician’s recommendations.

Remember that stress, insufficient sleep, overwork, caffeine, alcohol, and poor sleep habits can exacerbate the sleepwalking. Click here to learn “11 Tips for Sound Sleep” and then follow those sound sleep tips  religiously.

God bless you.


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