MINNEAPOLIS - If you've ever sleepwalked, you're not alone. It turns out sleepwalking is more common than once thought.
A new study from Stanford University, published in the journal Neurology, shows that 3.6 percent of adults in the United States report sleepwalking in the past year.
In addition, 29 percent report sleepwalking at some point in their lifetime.
More than 19,000 adults were surveyed.
Dr. Mark Mahowald, former director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), a professor at the University of Minnesota and also a visiting professor at Stanford, was a co-author of the study entitled "Prevalence and comorbidity of nocturnal wandering in the U.S. adult general population."
"The overall message is that sleepwalking is part of the human condition. It is not related necessarily to psychiatric or psychological problems. And it also gives us a window on how the brain works because most people don't have the idea that our brains can be partly awake and partly asleep at the same time and actually that's where things get interesting ," said Dr. Mahowald.
The survey showed depression and obsessive compulsive disorder were associated with higher rates of sleepwalking but Dr. Mahowald said that doesn't mean they cause it.
Men and women had similar rates of sleepwalking.
Dr. Mahowald added if you have family members that sleepwalk you are more likely to sleepwalk too.
He said it's also known that certain medications can cause sleepwalking.
Mahowald said many adults sleepwalk and, "That is perfectly normal and part of the human condition."
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