Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You Don't Want To Sleep With Me Right Now



Ughhhhh! It’s starting again!

It runs in families, so Wikipedia says, yet I haven't found convincing evidence of this. I only know what it means for me and there isn’t really anything I can do about it. It may last a few nights or a few weeks. It’s definitely cyclical, for me. 

And it’s exhausting.

WebMD says 3.7% of participants report two or more episodes per month. I'm in the 96.3% where it occurs much more frequently. If I’m sleepwalking, I’m doing it almost every night.

My unconventional behavior started when I was a kid. Mom said when she’d come in to check on me before she went to bed, I’d often be chattering. She’d sit on the edge of my bed engaging me in conversations. I’d mumble incoherent responses but, sometimes, she could make out words and phrases. Apparently, she used this as her entertainment. My dad traveled.

I don't blame her. I did the same same thing with my non-walking but sleeptalking daughter. Try it if you have the opportunity. Good times!

Before anyone gets all freaky knowing more about my personal sleeping habits, think of me as simply a regular girl on the go. And be happy you don’t sleep with me because I will wake you up frequently.

My "other" nighttime world commenced again two nights ago.

Standing directly over my husband on his side of the bed, I woke to him saying, “I don’t know where your iPad is.”

“What are you talking about?” I countered.

“Just get back in bed, please.” And I did.


According to Wikipedia, it's thought sleepwalking is acting out a dream but, apparently, it has little to do with dreaming. In fact, it occurs when the sleeper is enjoying the most oblivious, deepest sleep in which dreams are not usually reported. 

There was no iPad in my dream.

Last night, he called out from bed, “Where are you going? Come back here.” as I walked out of our bedroom around 1:30.

I remember thinking, “I don’t know.” and simply returned to bed.

I’m inclined to point the finger at him lately. His snoring, sniffling, or “whatever(s)” are keeping me from sleeping soundly but we both know that's not it. I’ve been doing this in some form or fashion my whole life including the “pre-snoring” days. 

He's so nice about it. I know I probably wouldn't be.

In fact, my self-diagnosed "light sleeper syndrome" is called being a mom.

Again, Wikipedia notes sleepwalking arises during our slow wave , deep sleep stage as a state of low consciousness and sleepwalkers perform activities that are generally done during full consciousness. These activities can be as benign as sitting up in bed, walking to the bathroom, cleaning, or as hazardous as cooking, driving, or grabbing at hallucinated objects and sometimes, worse.

And it's true, sleepwalking usually occurs during the first third of the night (between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.), at least for me.

Things I’ve done while sleepwalking aren't substantial. I'm inclined to walk around, ask questions and say nonsensical stuff. Frequently, I find myself in our foyer or the kitchen and I’ve been known to sit at my computer in the study but I'm definitely on the first floor if no one catches me.

When I'm descending the stairs, I do have semi-conscious thoughts like, “What am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I doing this?”

It’s always answered with, “How the hell do I know?”

I don’t stop; I can’t stop. I keep going.

By the time I reach my final destination, wherever that is, I’m usually cognizant and silently screaming, “Get back in bed! Damn it."

However, then I’m wide awake. So if anyone is up for a game of “Words With Friends” during the night, hit me up! I don’t play but I will.

Per Wikipedia, a report was published in 2008 of a woman who sent semi-coherent emails while sleepwalking, including one inviting a friend for dinner and drinks. Please note if you receive such emails from me during sleepy-time, I'll be surprised when you show up.

Sleepwalking episode tend to range from quietly walking about a room to agitated running or attempts to "escape." When questioned, our responses are typically slow or absent while we quietly roam.

In the not too distant past, I walked out of my house onto my front porch. It felt extremely weird waking up outside. Thankfully it was springtime but it was very discomforting like I'd crossed a different boundary and that was scary.

It certainly doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what causes sleepwalking. Sleep deprivation, chaotic sleep schedules, stress, alcohol intoxication or drugs such as sedatives are the culprits as stated by WebMD. For me, it seems to happen when I’m NOT imbibing at all. I don’t use drugs of any kind including sleep aides so I attribute it to the first three.

Good sleep hygiene is also recommended to reduce sleepwalking as documented on Wikipedia.

I assure you; I go to bed squeaky clean and smelling pretty darn good every night but I stay up far too late stimulating my brain with books. Good sleep is dependent on good sleeping habits (think babies, I guess!) and reading late into the night has been a habit since I was a child.

There's also crazy Freudian research stated on Wikipedia saying that sleepwalking is connected to fulfillment of sexual wishes. I don't buy it. Freud also claims that unconscious impulses and day residues colliding are to blame and the resulting conflict is mobility during sleep.

Now that makes perfect sense to me!

However, can my unconscious impulses and day residues get along for once?

All I want is uninterrupted sleep on a consistent basis.

Pretty please?

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This is NOT me but this is what it's like I'm sure if someone were to video me! Apparently the video went viral. It's short and hilarious! Here is the video of her reaction but watch what she's doing in the upper left corner; that's the sleepwalking bit. Tears are rolling down my face as I'm typing this!


47 comments:

  1. One of my best friends does this! She had a great story where she and her husband created a code word, so if she was sleepwalking, the theory is she wouldn't be able to know it. (Apparently she started a lot of fights in her sleep with him and it was emotionally taxing and hard on him.) The word was chinchilla. Night one: it worked. He asked and she didn't know and so he said, "go to sleep" and she did. Night two: he asked the code word and she got this goofy smile on her face and said, "Chinchiiiiiilllllllaaaaaaa!" and maniacally laughed. I worry it can be dangerous, but when not dangerous, it makes for great stories! Hope it doesn't make you feel worn out. She doesn't remember it or feel affected really.

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    1. I'm incredibly docile when I sleepwalk (at least that's what he tells me) and he just tells me what to do and I do it, like to get back in bed if he catches me heading out. I definitely babble weird stuff. I'm fortunate to sometimes wake up when I'm on my way downstairs or while poking around the first floor. Being on the porch sort of freaked me out. It's tiring because you are distrupting your deepest sleep and it's hard to go back to bed right after especially if I fully awaken. I hope your friend doesn't get in trouble.

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  2. My husband is a big sleepwalker. He ends up in other rooms doing crazy things. I sleep through most of it now. He'll tell me about waking up in a different part of the house doing something strange. I do remember when we were just married being freaked out by a few of his adventures. Stay safe. You'll have to sleep with a kitty bell on to make sure you don't go outside.

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    1. Me, too! My husband sleeps through I'd say half. He DOESN'T sleep through the ones where m standing on his side of the bed asking him questions. Poor guy! I tell him too and he'll say, I thought you just went to the bathroom. I think by now we are all used to it or as much as you can be. If I tell him about the kitty bell, he will insist I wear one. I know him!

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  3. I would suggest your husband wear earplugs (I'm a light sleeper and that has helped me a lot), but then he probably needs to be on some level of alert in case you do something crazy. Maybe the kitty bell as someone else suggested? Hope you figure out a way to get that uninterrupted sleep!

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    1. He sleeps pretty soundly. I think I need the earplugs, really. I'm pretty quiet, or so I'm told, so I can pretty much slip out of the room undetected then I'm on my own to roam at will. I just need to get some sleep! After a few days of this nonsense I get wiped out.

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  4. That must be so freaky Gina! I used to sleepwalk as a child but I seem to have grown out of it, thankfully! Please don't go outside again!!

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    1. Yes, that was a weird sensation being outside. I think I grew into it, rather than out of it. I do it more now than then. I will try to tell my unconscious self not to go outside again. I don't think I'd go so far as the detached garage though but I often leave my car in the drive (should hide the keys).

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  5. Me nephew sleepwalks. When he was much younger, he'd be found in all areas of the house: bathroom, kitchen, dining room table, living room floor. As he got older he'd be "doing things" as opposed to simply removing himself from bed and lying down elsewhere. The night he woke his parents up using a hammer to "fix" his new bed was when they sought help.

    I've never sleep walked (I don't think).

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    1. My son wandered every night for years. I'd go into his room to wake him for school and he wasn't there. Two favorite spots were in our room behind a big chair or plant. I guess someone did get it from me but he doesn't anymore. I usually don't pick anything up. I just sort of stand around in different rooms.

      Your hubby just hasn't told you!

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  6. hahaha that video is hilarious (i don't have sound).
    i remember going camping once as a kid with my cousins and one of them "woke" in the middle of the night and got a friggin knife and was walking around the damn cabin with it. asleep but UGH scary!

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    1. I wish you had sound. It's really funny to hear. To my knowledge, then again I'm the only one around and involved, I have never picked up anything sharp. If I picked something up it would likely be a book. It's be scared, too!

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  7. My husband sleepwalks, usually into the kitchen. He then sleepeats. It is strange, and he never remembers it the next morning. I have woken him up a few times, or directed him back into bed.

    That video is funny.

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    1. I don't THINK I eat. If I do, I must put it all away which is totally not like my daytime self! That video makes me lol!

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  8. Wow! I'm exhausted just reading this. It sounds awful. You did a great job of describing this to a "t". Please dress well if you insist on any more outdoor excursions! ;) Nice writing!

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    1. Thanks, lumdog. I am now very careful with which pajamas I choose. I never know...but I kind of do. When I'm really overtired and up way too late reading, it tends to happen.

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  9. This is terrifying to me! I can't imagine waking up outside of my apartment. My god, I live in a third floor walk up in Brooklyn - that would be dangerous. You seem to be handling it well!

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    1. I live in a quiet suburb filled with Barney Fife type police. I don't even know if they patrol at night so I could wander off and no one would be the wiser. Actually, my husband would probably notice at 5:45am when he got up for work. Today, I just really tired!

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  10. I find the idea of sleepwalking so CREEPY! So glad no one in my house does it, although my husband said he did when he was a kid.

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    1. It is creepy and if I wasn't the offender, I'd have a problem with it because I get spooked far too easily for someone to be walking around my house at night. Then, I'd never sleep for that reason. So basically, I don't sleep.

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  11. My daughter is a sleep talker, but no walking thank God. I used to sleep walk from time to time as a kid, but I don't remember any of it. ;-P I love the part where you were standing over your husband saying asking about the ipad.

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    1. Do you have chats with Caroline when she's doing it?

      I stand over him and say all kinds of things. Nice things. Meaningless things. But no one should be talking in the middle of the night, right? Poor guy is far too used to it. He just tells me to get back in bed then rolls over.

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  12. Wow!! If I were a house guest I would definitely lock my door. My son is a sleep talker and walker but I always hear him coming. He doesn't do it often. The most recent involved the iPad! LOL!! He went to use the bathroom first, then he came in our room. I could see he brought his face to mine to see if my eyes were open and then he sat on the bed by my feet. He said, "Mom I have to talk to you." I wasn't concerned. But I'm afraid to wake him up so I just converse back. He says, "Um" about five times and then says, "Can I have the iPad?" I said, "You can get it when you wake up, go back to bed." He said, "Okay", got off of my bed and went back into his room. My husband and I were stifling laughter! My mom was a sleep walker as a kid, I am a sleep talker. I sleep light especially when I have something to hide. I sure don't want to confess in my sleep about Zappos deliveries, "UPS came today, there's three pairs of shoes for me hiding in the back of the closet."

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    1. That is sooo cute of Christopher. He's like ME! I sit on the edge of the bed and talk to my husband too. He's not terribly fond of it unless he's awake which generally speaking, he is not. He said he laughs at what I say too, but I'm sure he might be a little annoyed too as he has to be up very early for work!

      To my knowledge I've never divulged anything of material importance especially anything indicating that I've internet shopper or otherwise. I seem to have a filter for things like that even while sleeptalking!

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  13. Wow! I had no idea about any of this stuff! Informative and fun to read. I laughed out loud at "Apparently, she used this as her entertainment. My dad traveled." It's amazing you can do so much when you're sleep. I kind of wish I sleep cleaned. It would be productive *and* I wouldn't have any memory of scrubbing the toilet.

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    1. My mom admits doing it. She said I would hold incoherent conversations but always answered her questions (not that she could decipher what I said). Unfortunately I have never sleep cleaned. I'd me more inclined to type something. Wait! I should go through my emails and documents and check! ;-)

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  14. Interesting and educational. You gave us a lot of good stuff with this post, Gina. However, I hope your episodes calm down.

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    1. Thanks, Angela. Me, too. Not yet.

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  15. One of my kids is a sleepwalker. I always thought it would likely stop at some point, but maybe not. Apparently my husband was a sleepwalker when he was little. I can see how it would be disconcerting! (and I have seen that video before and I love the mom's reaction to her sleepwalking!)

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    1. It would be pretty freaky to see first hand what I look like. Maybe.

      My daughter slept walked once at camp. Got into someone else's bunk insisting it was hers but that's the only event I know of from her. Maybe she does at school.

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  16. I'm a sleepwalker, too! I did it a lot as a kid, once even locking myself out of the house in the middle of the night. Now as an adult, I only do it occasionally. I did it recently where I got up and was searching for the new cat I had just gotten, and panicking because I hadn't been taking care of it and couldn't find it. The thing is...I didn't just get a new cat. Fortunately, I did finally wake up and realize that! So strange.

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    1. Locked yourself OUT! YIKES!

      Ok! The cat episode is exactly like one of mine...about something not usually based in reality. Honduras + sleepwalking = kindred spirit?

      It's a weird sensation when you wake up. That's for sure!

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  17. That video was hilarious. I especially enjoyed the sleep-dancing. It's funny to read all the stories, but it would really scare me if I or someone in my family were actually doing it.

    That "entertainment - my dad traveled" line is genius!

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    1. I'm glad it's me and not anyone else. I might be annoyed if it were ;-)

      It is a true statement. She pretty much raised us while he was away. She needed something to do at night, I guess!

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  18. I don't sleep walk anymore but I did as a kid. I am plagued with crazy nightmares weekly and I still talk in my sleep often. The "go to bed" command always worked for me too, according to my mother and husband.

    My son talks in his sleep and has night terrors (yay, genetics!) and he's only walked once, thankfully.

    It seems to be stress induced around here, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how to relax when I'm not awake so I don't wake up! Hope you get some rest!

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    1. I don't really ever have nightmares so I'm sorry you do! However, I dream very vividly incorporating several senses like last night. I was sure someone (at 2am) was making an onion bagel. It smelled soooooo good! I had to go downstairs and see what was going on. Of course. No one/nothing was down there.

      I don't know if its stress induced or if it's when I have a lot on my mind or am unsettled for whatever reason. I really don't know.

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  19. We don't have any sleep walkers in our house but all of us are prone to "sleep talking." You're right: It is super entertaining. I should write down the stuff they say, but I'm afraid one of them would do the same to me.

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    1. Be careful with that one. Turn around is fair play ;-)

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  20. Great post! I've had a few sleepwalking episodes, and it is so weird.

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    1. Thanks. Fun to write about but not fun to do. Yes, it's weird for sure!

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  21. Wow -- I don't think I've ever sleepwalked. Then again, most nights I'm not really sleeping (the twins are being stinkers with sleep right now). Hubby's younger brother was a sleepwalker; his parents had to hide keys for things because he'd try to go out in the middle of the night to mow the yard or plow the driveway. Hubby caught him just as he was starting to use hubby's closet as a toilet. D'oh!

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    1. Well, you don't know if you're a sleepwalker unless someone tells you you are! You are called a non-sleeper in my book as I was once the same. I have no excuses anymore for not sleeping. I manage to find the potty during the night, however.

      I'm always more fascinated with what's going on in the kitchen or study. I'm very happy I don't go outside.

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  22. How did I miss this post yesterday? It's fascinating. My college roommate was a sleeptalker/walker. It got insane at finals time. She would leave our room and wander the halls. Still does. I bet your hubs has funny stories.

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    1. I slept walked a TON in college! I wandered the dorm halls too. Stress, no doubt.

      Yes, he'll call me the next morning and tell me which sort of jars my memory if I hadn't woken up. I say, "Oh, I kinda remember that." He usually laughs and isn't freaked out at all when I walk over and sit on the edge of his side of the bed for a chat (babbling, of course).

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  23. My daughter did this for years! She would walk down the steps, start talking to us and then we'd realize that she was asleep. Her eyes wide open, but speaking gibberish. One night she was sleep walking and turned her dresser over. I did the same thing as a child, walking around the house, hearing voices, hundreds of them all at once. I'm thinking there are some genetics going on here.

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  24. Does this mean you're not having us over tomorrow night for dinner? Freaky alright! I sleepwalked as a kid (my mom and sisters have great stories of me trying to climb in the fridge and waking me up in the closet), but I'm over that phase. My husband however does talk in his sleep and it amuses me every time! Hope you get some sleep soon!

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  25. I love this, Gina, the way you laid it out with the science, and the fact of your sleepwalking. My youngest sister sleepwalks. Always has. When we were kids and she would come downstairs when I was still up with my friends I would tell her to do things like drink an invisible glass of water or fold some laundry or wash dishes. And she would do it all. It was a hoot. She never remembered a thing. Though I understand the fear. Waking up on the front porch in the cold would not be fun. I hope you catch up on some much needed sleep! Great, informative post!

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