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Sleep walking (Somnambulism), is termed as parasomnia event. This has a predilection for occurring during deep sleep, is known to occur during all stages of sleep, and is possible at any time during the night. They are classified as;
2) confusional arousals, and
3) sleep terrors.
Usually no treatment is required as it would abate on its own. Parasomnia can have undesirable events like;
1) motor (like walking)
2) verbal (talking)
3) experimental event.
If the verbal events are not subsiding, following may need to be instituted;
2) Relaxation techniques
Please read about parasomnia in this resource;
These events come in the episodic form and sometimes there are periods of long absence of years with 2-3 days of sleep talking and again a long gap. Important point to understand are;
A. These are benign events and do not need treatment usually.
B. Following associated conditions should be ruled out;
1) Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
2) Sleep apnea
C. Adequate sleep of 8-9 hours should be assured if the events start happening.
D. Benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and serotonin reuptake inhibitors medicines can be used if the events are recurring and frequent.
E. Parasomnias are not associated with any long-term sequelae.
Legs pumping up and down during early sleep are called myoclonic jerks. Myoclonic jerks are a normal part of sleep. Most people have them at one time or another. But many people do not realize their muscles are jerking at times during light sleep and it doesn't wake them up. Sometimes this starts happening suddenly and would continue for some days and then resolve on its own. This is because our brain signals the body to relax to prepare for sleep. When muscles are relaxed, we go into the very first stages of sleep, but are not sleeping too deeply yet. This brain activity may cause our larger muscles to contract. There is nothing pathological involved in this. Please read this resource for the further details;
But if this is happening to you frequently in night and multiple times; a sleep study may be considered by your physician, if this persists. Meanwhile you can try following;
1) Relaxation exercises, walking, stretching exercises, static bicycle, swimming etc before sleep helps.
2) People who are apprehensive may need alprazolam (Xanax), sometimes.
Please feel free for your follow up questions.
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