Sleepwalking & Night Terrors

Effective treatments to help you get a more restful night’s sleep

Sleepwalking & Night Terror Care

Having a health condition that affects your sleep impacts all aspects of your life. You can count on our experienced sleep health providers at BID Needham to help you find relief from night terrors and sleepwalking.


Sleepwalking (called somnambulism) is when a person engages in complex — sometimes semi-purposeful — activity, typically during the first hour or two of sleep.

Sleepwalking usually happens during stages 3 and 4 of sleep, most of which occurs during the first third of the night. This period is called slow-wave sleep, or SWS.

A person with this condition may sit up in bed or rise and walk about, occasionally being injured. When you wake up during the episode or wake up for the day, you cannot remember what you were doing while sleepwalking.

Night Terrors

Sleep terrors (called pavor nocturnus) occur when a person screams during awakening, then often jumps up from their bed in terror. Usually, they are then disoriented. When describing the night terror, the person usually describes having intense fear rather than specific details of a typical dream.


Sleep terrors and sleepwalking are more common in childhood than during the adult years, but in some cases may begin or continue into adulthood. There is a tendency for these disorders to run in the family.

Your doctor can diagnose sleepwalking using a combination of history and sleep studies including actigraphy and polysomnography.

Treatment for Sleepwalking & Night Terrors

Medications, such as bedtime benzodiazepines or sedating antidepressants, can suppress or eliminate episodes of sleepwalking or sleep terrors.

Psychotherapy and drug treatment to reduce anxiety also may help manage these conditions. Speak with your doctor about the best treatment for your personal situation.

Make an Appointment

To speak with a member of our team, please call.