Is it dangerous to wake up someone who is sleepwalking?

I have heard that it is dangerous to wake up someone who is sleepwalking because it may shock them. What is the best way to help someone who is sleepwalking?

Doctors Answers (1)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 9/24/2013

There may be no reason to awaken someone who is sleepwalking, unless, of course, you are unable to gently assist them back to bed. If the person is in harm's way it may warrant an awakening. First, begin gently, but realize that most sleepwalking is done while in Stage 3 sleep which is our deepest stage. If the sleepwalking is done during the light stage of REM sleep the person should be easily aroused. Don't engage in physical combative behavior if possible.