Sleepwalking | What happens when you wake a sleepwalker? Is it dangerous?


What is Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a sleep disorder that affects around 3.6% of the general population. It is characterized by episodes of walking or performing other complex behaviors while still in a state of deep sleep.

Waking a Sleepwalker – What Will Happen?

It is a myth that waking a sleepwalker is dangerous because it can cause them to have a heart attack, shock, brain damage, or something else.

It’s not a myth that waking a sleepwalker is dangerous because of the possible injury a sleepwalker can inflict on themselves or the person who woke them.

So, it is recommended to wake someone who is sleepwalking, so that he doesn’t get injured.

If you wake a sleepwalker, this is likely to happen…

Waking a sleepwalker, especially vigorously, may confuse or depress them for a while.

Confused, they might attack anyone close to them. It’s best not to get in their way.

Read also: Sleep Disorders | Hypersomnia, Insomnia, Parasomnia, Narcolepsy, Snoring, Sleep Apnea, etc (Sleeping Problems)

What to do if you wake a sleepwalker?

Instead, it might be better to guide them back to their beds. It is highly unlikely that a sleepwalker will suddenly wake up with heart disease (unless the person already has serious heart disease).

It was no different from when someone was sleeping normally and was suddenly awakened by a loud noise. The important thing is to protect the sleepwalker from themselves, so as not to get injured.

The best thing you can do is send her/him back to bed.

If you are witnessing a sleepwalking attack, you must speak calmly to the sleepwalker, with a soft voice, suggest that he return to bed. We avoid holding it brutally because it can become aggressive except of course if it puts itself in danger (if it is opening or stepping over the window for example).

If a member of your family has a sleep disorder like this, guide the person back to sleep, and don’t scream or startle the person.

If this disorder occurs at the same time every night, another way to overcome it is to wake the sufferer 15-30 minutes before the symptoms of sleepwalking disease appear, so that the sleep cycle changes and is expected to relieve this condition.

If your child often has sleepwalking disease, make additional safety guards on each side of the bed to prevent them from getting off the mattress. If necessary, supervise your child nightly or hire a nurse to perform this special task.

What causes sleepwalking attacks?

It is often linked to difficulty breathing or uncontrolled movement of the legs. Excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, stress or mental disorders can lead to this type of manifestation. “The causes of sleepwalking can be very different”.

However, waking a sleepwalker can also disrupt their sleep cycle and lead to further sleep disturbances or fatigue. Sleepwalking typically occurs during non-REM sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep. If a sleepwalker is suddenly awakened during this stage, they may experience sleep inertia, which is a state of grogginess, confusion, and reduced cognitive function that can last for several minutes or even hours.

Is it dangerous to wake a sleepwalker?

Whether it is dangerous to wake a sleepwalker depends on the individual and the situation. In general, it is recommended to avoid waking a sleepwalker unless they are in immediate danger or are engaging in behavior that may harm themselves or others. If you must wake a sleepwalker, here are some tips to do so safely:

  • Speak calmly and softly: Avoid shouting or startling the sleepwalker, as this may trigger a defensive or aggressive response. Instead, use a calm and soothing tone of voice to gently guide them back to bed.
  • Avoid physical contact: Do not grab or shake the sleepwalker, as this may startle or frighten them. Instead, stand nearby and gently guide them back to bed if needed.
  • Ensure safety: Make sure the sleepwalker is not in danger of falling, tripping, or running into objects or obstacles. Clear the path to their bed and remove any sharp or hazardous items from the area.

Monitor their behavior: If the sleepwalker appears to be agitated or confused, try to soothe them by talking softly and reassuring them that they are safe. If their behavior does not improve or becomes more erratic, seek medical help.


Sleepwalking is a common sleep disorder that can pose risks to the sleepwalker and others around them. While waking a sleepwalker can be disruptive and potentially dangerous, it may be necessary in certain situations. If you must wake a sleepwalker, do so calmly and gently, and ensure their safety at all times. If sleepwalking persists or causes significant distress, seek medical advice from a sleep specialist.

Sleep Disorders | Hypersomnia, Insomnia, Parasomnia, Narcolepsy, Snoring, Sleep Apnea, etc (Sleeping Problems)

Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.

Sources: PinterPandai, Mayo ClinicThe RegisterLive Science

Photo credit: Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

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