Did you have trouble with sleepwalking as a child? It's likely that your parents did, too. And if your kids aren't doing it already, they may pick up the habit soon.
New research shows that more often than not, sleepwalking runs in the family. Kids are more likely to have problems with sleepwalking if their parents were somnambulant, too — especially if both parents were sleepwalkers. In those cases, kids are 60 percent more likely to develop the condition.
The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, looked at sleep disturbances found in almost 2,000 kids born in Quebec from 1997 to 1998. Researchers found that kids were three times more likely to have issues with sleepwalking if they had one parent who was a sleepwalker, and seven times more likely to be sleepwalkers if both parents were.
Surprisingly, almost 30 percent of the kids surveyed reported issues with sleepwalking, while 56 percent of kids had problems with night terrors — defined as episodes of screaming or fear during sleep or when falling asleep. Night terrors were also found to have a genetic link between generations.
For most people, sleepwalking begins in childhood and then fades away during adolescence. But for some, it continues well into adulthood.
The bottom line for parents is that if you had trouble with sleepwalking or sleep terrors as a child, be prepared for your kids to have the same issues — especially if your partner had problems with those conditions too. Talk to your pediatrician about the best ways to wake and stop a sleepwalker to keep them safe.
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