New research about sleepwalking has raised questions about several common beliefs regarding this frequently misunderstood sleep disorder. Researchers at the University of Montreal conducted a comprehensive review of more than 15 years of study on the topic of sleepwalking. Their analysis produced what may be a clearer picture of the sleep disorder, its possible mechanisms, and its risk factors. Their analysis also challenges some common beliefs about sleepwalking -- beliefs that, if outdated, could interfere with diagnosis and treatment.
What are these views on sleepwalking that researchers say are not supported by data? There are three primary ones, which involve the experience of activities during sleepwalking as well as the daytime effects of the disorder. Researchers say that the cumulative data challenges these three notions:
Researchers found, in fact, that the memory recall can vary, with some sleepwalkers retaining memories of their episodes and others not. During an episode of sleepwalking, people are in a state that researchers call "dissociated arousal," with parts of the brain in a sleeping state and other parts of the brain in a waking state. This may help to explain why some can remember their experiences while others cannot.
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