05 May 2016

Sleeping womanSleepwalking – the strange state that finds people mobile and seemingly lost between full consciousness and sleep – still excites enormous curiosity.

Researchers at the University of South Australia are launching a new study designed to learn more about people’s experience of sleepwalking.

Psychology researcher Dr Helen Stallman says the research will help to fill in some big gaps in our understanding of sleepwalking.

“There is a lot of myth and mystery surrounding sleepwalking and the ‘sleepwalker’ is often used as motif or part of plot twist in literature and films, but the fact is we need to learn a lot more about it, before we will fully understand why people sleepwalk and what is going on psychologically and physically to cause them to do so,” Dr Stallman says.

 “As many as 40 per cent of people may sleepwalk at some time in their lives, making it a relatively common experience.

“Generally sleepwalking is pretty harmless, but it can occasionally result in injury to the sleepwalker or possibly those close to them, and for some people, it can be a big problem.”

Dr Stallman and her colleagues Dr Mark Kohler and Dr Phil Kavanagh are looking for people who have ever experienced sleepwalking to complete an online questionnaire which covers a range of topics about sleepwalking, sleep patterns, stress, personality and cognitive function.

“The anonymous questionnaire is pretty straightforward,” Dr Stallman says. “People also have the option providing their contact details so that we can talk to them and get more qualitative information about their answers – but that is completely optional.”

Anyone with experience of sleepwalking who would like to contribute to an improved understanding of this occurrence can find out more about the study here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/sleepwalking 

Media contact: Will Venn office +61 883020096 mob 0401366054 email will.venn@unisa.edu.au

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