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Sleepwalking More Severe After Sleep Deprivation

More sleepwalking during recovery sleep

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Sleepwalking becomes more frequent and complex in sleepwalkers during recovery sleep after being sleep-deprived for 25 hours, according to an article published online March 19 in the Annals of Neurology.

Antonio Zadra, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, assessed 30 sleepwalkers and an additional 10 sleepwalkers with a concomitant sleep disorder by video-polysomnography for one baseline night and during recovery sleep after 25 hours of sleep deprivation.

The researchers found that the mean frequency of sleepwalking episodes and the proportion of patients experiencing more complex forms of sleepwalking increased during recovery sleep in both groups of patients. Combining the data from both groups of patients, there were 32 sleepwalking episodes in 50 percent of patients at baseline, compared with 92 episodes in 90 percent of patients during recovery sleep.

"The findings support the view that sleepwalkers suffer from a dysfunction of the mechanisms responsible for sustaining stable slow-wave sleep and suggest that these patients are particularly vulnerable to increased homeostatic sleep pressure," Zadra and colleagues conclude.

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