What to do if you see someone sleepwalking

What to do if you see someone sleepwalking
Picture: Columbia Pictures/Getty

A recent survey by Aviva of 13 countries found that British people don’t believe they are getting enough sleep – 37 per cent complain that they are not well rested after a night of shut eye.

The general consensus on sleep states that one should aim for 7.7 hours of sleep a night – and yet British people only sleep an average of 6.8 hours.

Reduced sleeping hours can cause a whole host of issues, including lack of concentration and stress .


Irregular sleeping patterns causes stress and anxiety, which could in turn lead to sleepwalking.

This can be as mild as sitting up in bed and appearing briefly confused, to more extreme cases where a person can attempt ‘complex’ activities like trying to cook, or drive a car.

According to the NHS, there are a number of important steps to undertake in the event of someone sleepwalking:

  • The first thing is to make sure the sleepwalker is in a safe place. 
  • Gently guide them back to bed. 
  • Sometimes, gently waking a person before you put them back to bed can prevent a further sleepwalking episode. 


...shout or startle them, they may lash out and hurt you or hurt themselves.

The often circulated idea that if you wake a sleepwalker, they will go into a coma or have a heart attack, is a myth.

What can happen is that they may become distressed or violent if you wake them up suddenly.

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