Photograph by Laurent Fievet/AFP/Getty Images.
Nearly three in 10 American adults say they have sleepwalked at least once, with nearly 4 percent, or roughly 8.4 million people, saying they've done so in the past year alone, according to a new study.
Researchers at Stanford University found that those who suffer from severe depression, alcoholism, or OCD showed higher rates of what researchers called "nocturnal wandering." Like others, the study also linked antidepressants and sleeping pills to sleepwalking, but said users’ underlying conditions may be responsible in those cases.
"I would like to correct the impression that sleepwalking is rare," Maurice Ohayon, a co-author of the study, told USA Today. "This is a huge number of people." Indeed, CBS News reports that the findings, published in the journal Neurology, were the first of their kind in the United States since studies 30 years ago, when only 2 percent of U.S. adults said they had frequent bouts of sleepwalking.
The new study was unique in that it relied on self-reported data and medical histories collected from 19,136 people in 15 states rather than lab research, as is often the case. USA Today notes that no research has been done on the long-term effects of sleepwalking, but Ohayon told the paper that the risk of injury (particularly to elderly patients) warranted further study.