Does anyone have children that sleepwalk??

Tiffany - posted on 01/26/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My two year old (he will be three in a cpl of weeks) has recently started getting up at night, and sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, and getting into things. For example one morning i heard him up so i got up and came upstairs, we sleep downstairs (our basement is finished with multiple rooms) and he sleeps upstairs, everything in my fridge was out in the middle of the living room floor EVERYTHING!!!, and my son was wondering around eating the cookies i had made and put in the fridge the night before to set. He had dumped a whole bottle of juicy juice on the computer and monitor and keyboard, ketchup and mustard and baking soda all over the kitchen floor. To put it bluntly the house was a disaster. He has done many things like this since, some way worse!!! That was just the first incident. Prior to this he would always come into our bedroom and get me up or stand at the top of the stairs and yell mom! time to get up. I mentioned it to the girls i work with and they mentioned sleepwalking.



So i am wondering if anyone has sleepwalkers this young and what they do to keep their kids safe and their house from being destroyed. Also how did you find out it was for sure sleepwalking. Can they test a child this young???



I dont always hear him get up because he is so quiet and sneaky. I recently hid a baby monitor in his room with the receiver in my room so i can hear him a little better during the night and morning hours. I had to hide it though because when he knew it was there he would shut it off when he woke up in the morning. My doctor has told me my son is very gifted and i dont doubt it one bit. He is too smart for his young age and his own good. It kinda scares me sometimes.



Any help is highly appreciated! :)

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Tabitha - posted on 01/26/2010

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I have a sleepwalker and I have a two year old who does exactly what you are describing! i don't think it is sleepwalking, I think it is just them being 2. He hates sleeping with his door shut tight because then he has to wait for someone to come and get him. I have started having to go back and close his door after he falls asleep. Sleepwalkers have no idea what they are doing and although their eyes are open and they appear awake they are not. You can tell a difference because sleepwalkers have a distant kind of stare. Like they could stare right through you. Also activities that happen during a sleepwalking episode the sleepwalker never remembers. So when you get up if your son is sitting there looking at you and you can tell he knows who has done the things I would say it's not sleep walking but rather a curious 2 yr old who thinks he is as big as everyone else like mine is lol! The only way to "test" for sleep walking is to participate in a sleep study and I am not exactly sure but I imagine they wont do them on kids this young.

Monique - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hello Tiffany,

I understand your pains and concerns, as I also have a young one that 'sleepwalks'. I have a young 2 -year old that will be 3 in March. One night I heard his bedroom door slam open, and I heard little feet running (literally running!) back and forth across the livingroom floor. He does have a twin sister, so I knew it was either him or his sister.

By the time I wrapped myself in my robe and put my house shoes on, he was already back in his bedrom climbling back into his bed. I turned on the bedroom light and asked what he was doing, and to get back into the bed... and he just turned to look my way and smiled at me; but he didn't say anything to me.

So... I'm thinking all is well. I turned off the bedroom light, and went back into my room to get back in the bed. About 5 minutes later... my son is hollering, and screaming bloody murder! It was a scream that I couldn't describe, but I knew it was out of the ordinary, and something was wrong. I ran back into the bedroom and quickly turned on the light; and he was sitting straight up in his bed crying. I asked him what was wrong with him, and he said that his older sister wouldn't give him any candy. The freaky part about that to me was... his older sister was alseep! She had no clue what he was talking about. I knew right then and there that my son is a sleepwalker.

My son has an older sister that used to sleepwalk around his age as well; and I've learned my lesson and earned my keep on how to handle a young sleepwalker.

Here's my tip:
1. Don't freak out, or become afraid
2. If you find your child is sleepwalking, just gently lead him or her back to the bed; and try not to do anything else. If you're afraid, you may tend to scare them... and there is no telling what may happen if you startle an active sleepwalker.

Lastly... I do agree with the person that tells you that your son is gifted. He may have a 'higher' spiritual calling on his life. If you are not in church... I would consider looking for a nice church for you and your son to go to, and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ

I hope this helps.....God bless you!

Colleen - posted on 01/27/2010

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Sleepwalking is usually a herediatary trait and is linked to a condition known as parasomnia. The brain releases electrical currents in the persons REM sleep and causes the brain to wake up but not enough to wake the person up fully. This is why sleepwalkers look 'through' you and won't engage in conversation that is off the topic they are exploring at the time of their sleepwalking. Sleepwalking can begin from a young age and is usually most prevelant in the pre-teen years.

Both my sister and I were sleepwalkers and my sons both sleepwalk occasionally too. There is however no distructive behaviour and they usually are 'chasing giraffes', looking for random things in their cupboards or fighting with the curtains etc. I can gently direct them back to bed without 'waking' them and they will return to sleep. They have no recollection of any of it in the morning.

From what you've written it sounds like your son is fully awake at the time and getting up to mischief because he's awake and is frustrated that everyone else is still asleep. I have no doubt that he is a very bright spark!! A nightmare may have woken him and now he's up and on a mission.

To put your mind at rest, you first need to test if he's awake by quizzing him about the things he did at night. If he has any recollection of any of it, chances are he's not sleepwalking. You can also try asking him questions when he is 'sleepwalking' and if he answers you coherently, he is awake for sure. You then need to work on a programme to retrain him to sleep through the night and also maybe punish him for his distructive behaviour because that is just not acceptable no matter how bored he is. If he was drawing pictures, building blocks or looking at books it wouldn't be ideal, but at least it's still within acceptable boundaries.

If you suspect he is a genuine sleepwalker you need to consult a sleep clinic as his sleepwalking is then severe and needs to be monitored. There have been cases of people driving cars in their sleep and all sorts of crazy and dangerous things.

Goodluck.

Michelle - posted on 01/27/2010

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I agree with Tabitha that it doesnt sound like sleepwalking. Like she said sleepwalkers have that 'stare' and no matter what you say to them they dont actually hear you. My little sister was a sleepwalker...and she did the most randomist things...when she was 6yrs old she would pick up her school clothes, (while still in her nightie) and walk downstairs, out the back door (as my dad would normally leave this open when he was packing up his car for work) and shed walk down the garden path with her clothes under her arm. Me, my mum and older sister would just stare, then my mom would make one of us go get her...We couldnt wake her up as this can be dangerous and totally disturb her so I used to hold her shoulders and just guide her back into the house and then carry her up the stairs to mom.



It was pretty freaky!



Your son sounds like a normal 2 yr old that would get into everything. my daughter is the same...you cant leave her if she is awake, she will get hold of almost everything and manage to trash the room. The best thing to do for your son is to put a stair gate on his bedroom door and leave the door open so that you can hear him and he cant get out. You would know if he was sleepwalking if when you went to him after pooring the juice over the computer, hed just ignore you, he wouldnt turn to you or acknowledge you there...I would describe my sister as a human robot.

Maybe he has sleep disturbances that wake him in the night and he gets bored, so he needs to find something to do. WHats his diet like it the daytime? any sugary foods or food before bedtime???? This might be keeping him awake. I know my daughter will wake in the night if she has something to eat before bed (such as my lil brother giving her bbq crisps! argh! )

Does he nap during the day? sometimes some children dont need a nap otherwise they dont sleep at night (like my friends son) but then like my daughter some do...and shel have 2 hrs in the afternoon (shes 2) and shel sleep 12hrs at night.



Best thing to do is just safe proof his bedroom, put the stairgate up and put the monitor outside his room on the wall near the stairgate but high enough for him not to reach it...maybe get a bracket and secure it to the wall and pop it on there or a lil shelf.

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Era - posted on 11/30/2012

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don't to much ur son will lose the habbit i have 3 year old twins and a 16 year old girl the twin used to sleep walk so is my three year old when they were 2 they'll get out of the habbit

Valerie - posted on 11/28/2012

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put an elastic loop with jingle bells on his ankles this is severe to do all those things you might want to set up cameras for use to show a child sleep specialist..............these are extreme experiences even for sleepwalking rn mom

Jadeebugsmom - posted on 09/12/2012

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My son is almost 7 and he is a sleepwalker and talker, he starts out sitting up in his bed talking gibberish and says Mommy or mama several times then gets up and acts as though he is looking for me, he sometimes comes to my bed and will stand there or climb in or sometimes he turns around and goes back to his bed, he has laughed out loud, clapped his hands, patted me, cried, kissed my hand and other strange stuff while never remembering any of it the next day, this all normally begins 1 or 2 hrs after he has been asleep and 3-4 nights a week.



My neighbor has a 7yr old daughter that has night terrors and sleepwalks and she told me to try him on melatonin, I called his dr and he said to give him 3mg about 1 hr before bedtime- lastnight was the first time we tried it and he fell asleep 45 mins before his normal bedtime and slept sound until i woke him for school. We are trying it again tonight and he again fell asleep earlier than usual and did wake briefly because he was sweaty but went right back to sleep once I removed the blanket he had wrapped himself in...so far so good!

Michelle - posted on 02/06/2010

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Monique I think your lil one has been having night terrors. Its common at his age. my daughter had one the other night it was sooo scary..I knew what it was...but still.

She awoke screaming just as you describe like bloody murder...and I tried to just hush her back to sleep, stroke her head, but it seemed to make it worse, she was cmabering up the side of the cot and so I got her out and tried to hug her, but she just kept pointing at my pillow, I put her down and she wouldnt go down there, but she also wouldnt let me hold her it was horrible. She was unconsolably crying and staring into space, when I tried to hold her shed push me away and it really upset me...but I knew what it was :) In the end I held her face and looked into her eyes for about 30-40 seconds and she snapped out of it, asked for milk and so we went downstairs got some more milk, she lay in bed hugging me and asked to go back to her own bed once she drank it, then slept all night after that. Maybe you do have a sleepwalker in the making, the running about the living room does deem odd, but do you think he ran back cause he heard you? children can be pretty funny creatures.

Tabitha - posted on 01/27/2010

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Sleep eating is common with sleep walking! I mentioned before that I had issues with sleep walking and also night terrors when I was younger and sometimes when stress is high I still have sleepwalking episodes. I am almost ashamed to admit that about a year ago right after I started trying to purchase my home I awoke in the middle of the night with a mouthful of MAYONNAISE sandwich! It was actually the feel or taste of the sandwich in my mouth that awoke me lol. But it is also important to remember not to wake anyone is is sleepwalking or having a night terror. I just recently found out that the reason behind that is because there is a huge risk of cardiac arrest from waking someone during an episode. And for Monique it sounds like you have a little one with night terrors. Night terrors can produce violent outbursts accompanied with screaming and crying for odd reasons; such as sis wouldn't give me any candy. They can get worse and can last longer. With night terrors there is pretty much no calming them down as the sound of your voice and sometimes your touch can cause more erratic behavior depending on what the person is experiencing during the episode. You can pretty much only make the environment a safe as possible and wait it out. They never remember anything that has happened. We have had some at my home last for up to 45 mins or an hour. And beware Tiffany because if he is a sleep walker there is a possibility of night terrors as well. They can be alarming and scary until you get the hang of them or even very emotional for you as a watcher. For anyone else reading who experiences night terrors I spoke with my pediatrician about putting my son on melatonin to help him relax, fall asleep easier, and have a better quality of sleep. It has been a lifesaver I kid you not. We have went from having hellacious night terrors at the very least 4 times a week to only having them once every two months or so. Being overly tired, stress, major life changes (and major changes for a child can vary greatly from an adult as I am sure you are all aware), and even anesthesia can bring on episodes, make them worse, or more frequent. My oldest starting school and dealing with separation anxiety, being placed under anesthesia, and dealing with chronic pain from an ear infection all around the same time is what eventually lead me to the melatonin conclusion. My son has even realized how much better he rests as every so often I skip a night or two of the melatonin to give his body a break and he is asking for it and wants to know why he can't have it those nights. By the way the son I am referring to is 5 yrs old now and he was 5 when we started the melatonin.

Tiffany - posted on 01/27/2010

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Michelle, We have done the gate thing but no luck. He knows how to open them. LOL As i said before he is extremely smart. As for the foods he eats, nothing sugary. We try not to give him that. We eat at 4pm for dinner and then he has a snack at about 6:30 bath at 7 and bed at 730 pm. I have tried all sorts of things. Moving his bed time later, no snack past 6 juice limit during the day, nothing works. My husband thinks he is just one of them people that doesnt need much sleep and so when he goes to bed at 7:30 and gets up either in the middle of the night for an hour or else wakes up at 6 30 am that its normal for him... I dont know about the middle of the night but def. the morning would be okay. Also he takes a very short nap from 11am to about noonish on some days he might sleep till 1 but not usually.

Tabitha, I will try and quiz him and see what happens. When we asked him about the incidents that have happened he doesnt seem to remember. However he was wondering around the one night eating cookies. I didnt think to look at his stare or anything lol i knew nothing of sleepwalking other then my dads side has a few but i was never around them during episodes. As far as the juice on the pc goes..... i never did find out why he did it.. or if he even knew he did it. I will test him on these things and see what happens.


You all have wonderful advice and thank you SOOOO much! I have not had problems like this in the past. I do have a 5.5 yr old but he was nothing like this when he was young. LOL He was very compliant and laid back.

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Wow! I have a sleepwalker, but nothing like that. She usually gets up a couple of hours after going to sleep and it's almost always when she has to pee. The 'worst' she's ever done is get a spoon out of the sink and set it on the table. Then my ex helped her to the bathroom and she went back to bed. I think she started around 4 though....

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