Mum Kathryn Mead talks to sleep news about her
childhood bedtime troubles, as we ask our sleep expert Dr Nerina
how to combat sleepwalking!


Kathryn Mead


As a child Kathryn Mead would sit up in bed hurling
blood curdling screams at her family but would be clueless of her
night trauma in the mornings.


She would flee towards the stairs as she roamed the
house in her sleep, and would terrify her sibling at bedtime.


Until one day her parents discovered the bizarre
trigger to her continuous sleep walking - minty fresh
toothpaste! 


Kathryn, from Chelmsford, Essex, was just
nine-years-old when she first started sleep walking, she 
can't recall any of the experience but remembers waking up to find
her parents and little sister by her side in her bedroom.


During her childhood night walks Kathryn, 36, could
be found walking around the family home or screaming at the top of
her lungs and just minutes later be completely unaware of the
horror her body and mind had been going through.


She said: "My family tell me I would scream like a
scene from a horror movie. I would sit up and scream and for some
reason insist my father couldn't come anywhere near me. It was very
strange because I had a great relationship with my dad, he was
lovely to me, but in my sleep he would frighten me. 


"I would wake up confused and scared. My mum would
try and comfort me and say I'd had a bad dream to which I would
often insist I hadn't and that I was completely unaware of what I
had just been through.


"The scariest thing I ever did was attempt to escape
down the stairs. My mum would have to run after me as I would get
out of bed in complete slumber and run towards the stairs."


The mum-of-three says she remembered her parents
trialling different aspects of her diet and lifestyle to try and
find a solution - in the end the only thing that was new was her
extra minty tooth paste. 


In attempt to help their little girl sleep they
changed her toothpaste and over night she fell into a regular sleep
pattern. 


Interestingly Kathryn discovered last year she has an
allergy to mint - which her doctor believed could have been a
trigger for her body's reaction in younger years - now she uses a
fennel toothpaste instead. 


Kathryn- who is a director of Mead Logistics Ltd,
alongside her husband - added: "Fortunately I haven't sleep walked
since then but I do talk in my sleep occasionally.


"I have avoided the toothpaste since. Luckily none of
my children have suffered from sleepwalking."  


Following our chat with Kathryn we asked our
Silentnight sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, about triggers she
believes often cause us to sleep walk. 


Here are her top tips to reduce the chances of
suffering from the confusing predicament of sleepwalking.


 


  • CUT OUT THE CAFFEINE: Minimise
    stimulants such as caffeine, refined sugars and alcohol as they can
    exacerbate the parasomnia, such as nightmares, night terrors or
    sleepwalking. 

 


  • SWAP JAWS ON THE TELLY FOR PRIDE
    AND PREJUDICE IN BED: Avoid watching overstimulating or scary
    programmes or non-relaxing action books before going to bed to
    reduce the chances of sleepwalking. Why not read something relaxing
    instead. 

 


  • PRACTICE RELAXATION TECHNIQUES:
    Practices such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness or breathing
    techniques can help centre both your body and you mind, it lowers
    the heart rate and clears the brain of noise which may keep us
    awake.

 


  • CREATIVE TYPES DREAM: Part of what
    we often fail to identify in sleepwalkers is their creativity, and
    how often this can be an outlet for it. So channel that into
    something more positive, perhaps draw or sketch and get those ideas
    on paper. Unexpressed creativity can exacerbate these
    symptoms.

 


  • SEEK HELP: If your sleepwalking
    symptoms are related to stress or trauma, its important to seek
    supportive therapy. It can really help to write or talk about a
    recurring nightmare or what you are walking away from. Making sense
    of it will help to lessen intensity and frequency and help you
    learn how to relax. 

 


For more sleep tips please go to Dr
Nerina's sleep
toolkit…