Scientific American has a short article that tackles the common idea that it is dangerous to wake people who are sleep walking. It turns out, it’s often dangerous not to rouse them from their sleep.
The article discusses what causes sleepwalking, and the curious ways in which it can express itself.
Still, more disconcerting than the occasional nocturnal stroll is the potential peril caused by sleepwalking. “Sleepwalkers can harm themselves and others, and even kill themselves and others, and they can engage in highly complex behaviors such as driving long distances, and hurt others with sleep aggression and violence,” Schenck says. “So there are a number of ways that sleepwalkers can be dangerous to themselves and others during their episodes.” For example, Schenck notes, Sandy, a slender female in her teens, tore her bedroom door off the hinges one night. She was unable to replicate that strength when awake. And a young man frantically drove to his parent’s house 10-miles away. He woke to the sound of his own fists beating on their front door. In dramatic cases like these, doctors will prescribe benzodiazepines to ease the patient’s nighttime activity.
Link to article ‘Fact or Fiction?: Waking A Sleepwalker May Kill Them’.