Why do People Walk in Their Sleep?

There are very few cases of people walking in their sleep. But while sleepwalking is a peculiar from of behaviour, there is nothing mysterious  about it. To understand it, let us start with sleep itself. We need to sleep so that our tired organs and tissues of the body will rest and be restored.

We still do not have an exact scientific explanation of how and why we sleep, but it is believed that there is a “sleep center” in the brain which regulates the sleeping and waking of the body. What regulates this sleep center ?

The blood. The activity of our body all day releases certain substances into the blood. One of these is calcium. It passes into the blood and stimulates the sleep center. And the sleep center has been “sensitized” before by special substances so that it will react to the calcium.

When the sleep center goes to work, it does two things. The first is it blocks of part of the brain so that we no longer have the will to do anything, and we longer have consciousness. We might call this “brain sleep”.

The second thing it does is block off certain nerves in the brain stem so that internal organs and our limbs fall asleep. Let us call this “body sleep”.  and normally these two reactions or kinds of sleep, are connected.  But under certain conditions they may be separated!

The brain may sleep while the body is awake. This might happen to a person whose nervous system does not react normally. So such people might get out of bed while their brain is asleep and walk about! The brain and body sleep have become disassociated, and they are sleep walkers.

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