Is Sleep Walking an Indication of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Walking Lady MacBeth by Johann Heinrich Füssli

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, occurs when there is some sort of interruption made to the normal sleeping pattern. The disorder will cause one to wake up in the middle of the night, unknowingly, and do activities one would do while awake such as getting dressed and eating. There are several factors that can cause our sleep patterns to be interrupted such as bruxism, night terrors, and others. Another condition that may be linked to sleep walking is sleep apnea. Though many don’t think to connect the two, sleep apnea most definitely causes an interruption when we sleep at night.

When someone suffers from sleep apnea, there is an interruption to the normal sleep pattern because when an airway is blocked or air is somehow restricted, the brain is aroused which then causes an influx of signals within the brain. This can cause an interruption to the sleep pattern which may bring about parasomnic effects such as sleep walking. With this said, it is safe to say that there is some evidence that sleep walking can be caused by sleep apnea. Of course this is not the case for everyone but it is most definitely something to consider if you or someone you know suffers from the condition.

If you’ve yet to be tested for sleep apnea and suffer from sleep walking but don’t have a clear reason as to why, it may be helpful to visit a dentist who can help test you for sleep apnea and work with a sleep physician to properly diagnose your condition. There are many different symptoms that may be signs of sleep apnea such as loud snoring, restlessness, daytime drowsiness, and the feeling that you never have enough sleep. Symptoms will vary by person but in the end it’s best to be tested.