Explanations of Sleepwalking (24m)

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  • Explanations of sleepwalking
    • 1) Sleep Walking
      • Common causes include a full bladder before bed or unfamiliar environments and occur when there is an abnormal transition between NREM and REM leading to a non-paradoxical sleep phase allowing individuals to act out their dreams. 
      • Symptoms are sleep talking, short-term amnesia and difficulty arousing sleepwalker from episode.
      • Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, usually occurs in the first few hours of falling asleep usually in stage 4 (SWS) which is characterised by delta waves
    • 2) Genetics
      • There is evidence that the tendency to sleep walk may be inherited as it appears to run in families. 
        • Bassetti
          • :( Has a very small sample size- ungeneralizable to wider population.
          • :( Volunteer- participant bias.
        • Lecendruex et al
          • :)  Higher concordance in MZs so suggest a genetic element supporting Bassetti’s findings.
          • :( Concordance not 100% suggesting that sleepwalking may not be completely genetic.
          • :( (5)Issues with concordance studies as it is assumed that twins have the same upbringing which is often untrue while often MZs are closer to choose to live more similar lifestyle than MZs.
        • :) (6)Scientifically objective research methodology form EEG as genetic research means no experimenter effects as there is little room for interpretation of results while ability to isolate variables provides scientific credibility.
        • :( (7) Reductionist- reduces complex behaviour if SW to a single gene ignoring other factors like alcoholism.
        • Zadra et al
          • :)  (9)Although the genetic explanation concentrates on nature, the diathesis stress model allows both nature and nurture to be considered.
    • Incomplete arousal
      • partially awake in the sense that they are engaged in activites associated with wakefulness
      • Sleep walking is the combination if slow delta waves and high frequency beta waves.
    • Lifespan Changes
      • Sleep walking is more common in children
        • children have a higher amount of SWS sleep than adults so they have more opportunity for episodes.
        • Oliviero
          • Some adults may have the same underdeveloped system explaining sleep-walking in adults. 
        • :( (13)Alternative approach- Psychodynamic approach suggests how repressed traumas and anxieties may be lead to physical expression in the form of 
        • :)  (14) RLA- research allow parents/ partners/ roommates to create a safer environment for the sleepwalker through measures like stair gates and taking them back to bed before arousing a sleepwalker.


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