Sleepwalking, or somnambulism, is a behavior disorder that originates during deep sleep. It is a disorder of arousal from sleep that may be brought on by a sudden noise or an internal issue like restless legs syndrome, or it can follow sleep terrors. Once the person’s feet hit the floor and they begin walking, it is categorized as sleepwalking.

Similar to what happens confusional arousal, a sleepwalker is neither fully asleep nor fully awake but somewhere in between. People can perform incredibly complex and occasionally violent acts while they’re sleepwalking, yet sleepwalkers are not conscious of their actions and do not usually recall the episodes.

Potential forensic implications:

  • assault
  • child molestation
  • DUI
  • fall risk
  • industrial accidents
  • mistaken suicide
  • motor vehicle accidents
  • murder
  • rape
  • sexual assault
  • sleep eating
  • sleep driving
  • sleep-related violence
  • sleep sex

Case studies: