The findings are higher than previous studies had suggested, the researchers wrote, including an estimate from a decade-old study of the general European population, which found that only about 2 percent of people had trouble with sleepwalking within the previous year. Results from the new study also showed certain mental illnesses, including depression, and some antidepressant medications were linked with a higher risk of experiencing sleepwalking. The study may provide some clues for treating the disorder, said study researcher Maurice Ohayon, a psychiatrist at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
"Now we know the biggest associations with sleepwalking, and the first thing to do is remove these pathological associations — sleep apnea, insomnia, alcohol consumption," Ohayon told LiveScience. "The key thing we must say to people is, don't be ashamed to be a sleepwalker."