Many sleepwalkers suffer an enigmatic existence. Their waking hours are plagued by pain that can dull their physical activity levels. Yet their lively nocturnal adventures can cause pain-free injury.
That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Sleep by a group of French researchers. The team studied 100 patients who sleepwalk at least once a year but have no other sleep disorders. Compared to 100 non-sleepwalking participants, the sleepwalkers were more likely to suffer headaches, migraines, and chronic pain, as well as symptoms of depression and insomnia. But, of the 47 participants that reported being injured at one point during a sleep-like stupor, nearly 80 percent said the trauma was painless.
These results make me wonder if the partial arousal state associated with sleepwalking can be picked up by any wearable sleep monitors, or even any of the fitness trackers with sleep tracking functionality. If so, it would be then be theoretically possible to trigger a mitigation response of some sort, whether that be by waking up the person or some other mechanism that could protect the person from harmful actions.