Stanford Study Finds Nearly 30% of Americans Have Sleepwalked
Posted on May 14, 2012A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine researchers has found that nearly 30% of U.S. adults have sleepwalked at least once in their lifetime - typically when they were children. 3.6% of American adults have been sleepwalking within the past year. This means there are over 8.4 million adults in the U.S. that have gone sleepwalking within the past 12 months. The researchers say the study, published in Neurology, "underscores the fact that sleepwalking is much more prevalent in adults than previously appreciated."
The researchers secured a sample of 19,136 individuals from 15 states and then used phone surveys to gather information on participants' mental health, medical history and medication use. Participants were asked specific questions related to sleepwalking, including frequency of episodes during sleep, duration of the sleep disorder and any inappropriate or potentially dangerous behaviors during sleep. Those who didn't report any episodes in the last year were asked if they had sleepwalked during their childhood. Participants were also queried about whether there was a family history of sleepwalking and whether they had other parasomnia symptoms, such as sleep terrors and violent behaviors during sleep.
Here are some highlights of the study's findings:
- 3.6% reported at least one episode of sleepwalking in the previous year
- 2.6% had between one and 12 episodes in the past year
- 1% say they had two or more episodes in a month
- Lifetime prevalence of sleepwalking was found to be 29.2%
- People with depression were 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk than those without
- People with alcohol abuse/dependence or obsessive-compulsive disorder were significantly more likely to have sleepwalking episodes
- Individuals taking SSRI antidepressants were three times more likely to sleepwalk twice a month or more than those who didn't
- Sleepwalking was not associated with gender and seemed to decrease with age
- Nearly one-third of individuals with nocturnal wandering had a family history of the disorder
- People using over-the-counter sleeping pills had a higher likelihood of reporting sleepwalking episodes of at least two times per month