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Sleep and Sleep Disorders in Children (cont.)

Sleepwalking (Somnambulism) in Children

The onset of sleepwalking typically occurs in prepubertal children. Boys are more likely than girls to sleepwalk, with the highest prevalence in the preteen years (11-12 years of age). The overall incidence of sleepwalking is approximately 18%. Like night terrors, the individual is difficult to arouse during the event and does not remember the experience. Sleepwalking most commonly occurs during the first one-third of the sleep cycle. Some sleepwalkers may also mumble during sleepwalking episodes and occasionally obscene words may be uttered. Medications are rarely necessary to manage sleepwalking episodes. Ensuring a safe environment (protecting against falls and securing doors to avoid walking out of the house) and maintaining good sleep habits (avoiding sleep deprivation) are important considerations.

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