Are We in the Dark About Sleepwalking’s Dangers?
When most people sleep, the brain causes both the conscious mind and the body to rest, and, during the dreaming stages of sleep, a loss of muscle tone prevents movement. In sleepwalkers, however, this process goes awry. Sleepwalking in children is usually only a safe subject of funny family stories, but adult somnambulism is a serious—even dangerous—sleep disorder. Neuroscientist Shelly Gunn, M.D., Ph.D., and her sleepwalking son, W. Stewart Gunn, explore the science of somnambulism and, because sleepwalking cannot yet be entirely prevented, suggest how we must protect both night wanderers and those who might be harmed by their unconscious actions.