we dyscordians must stick apart

20100328

Sleepwalking

Originally posted 8/22/07

I have, for a long time, suffered from a recurring problem. I do things when I'm asleep.

I have a sleep disorder called
somnambulism or noctambulism, take your pick. A lot of research suggests that high levels of anxiety or stress are major causes of somnambulism. In my case, however, I am fairly certain that high levels of beer are the major contributing factor.

Whatever the cause it is a condition which has led to some strange situations, a few of which I've been persuaded to write about here.

The first time I recall being aware of my nocturnal activities was back around the time I was, well, a lot younger. I woke one morning and the first thing I thought about was a 'dream' I'd had. In the dream I went downstairs and into the kitchen to make a drink. I poured something I guess I thought was cordial (kind of fruit juice concentrate to you colonials) into a cup and added water. As I raised the cup to my mouth there was the distinct smell of bleach. I put the cup onto the counter top and that was all I remembered.

Strange dream I thought as I went to make breakfast. I reached the kitchen and there on the counter was a cup of bleach and water.

Scary huh? But wait, there's more.

Fast forward to this year. I stay frequently with my step-daughter and son-in-law and have now had two bathroom related occurrences of sleepwalking in their house in two months.

#1 I moved a few months ago and the first room I used as a bedroom was at the other end of the passage from the bathroom. One night at my s-d/s-i-l's house I apparently set off to the bathroom, also at the other end of a passage, while still asleep. So far so good. Unfortunately my bathroom is on the left. Theirs is straight on. All I know is that one moment I am lying down to go to sleep, the next I'm hearing a little voice asking "What are you doing in my closet?" Thankfully I was just standing there fully clothed*. It could have been so much worse.

#2 Since then I changed rooms to one which was being used for storage when I first moved. I now have my own bathroom directly to the left of my bed. Directly to the left of the bed I use at my s-d/s-i-l's house is a set of drawers. The top drawers are a separate optional unit. On top of them are...were...a ceramic lamp and a piggy bank full of change. So it was that I found myself in the early hours of this morning stood with a drawer unit in my arms and broken pottery and lots of change at my feet, my s-d holding my arm and my s-i-l scampering around at my feet saying things like "Make sure he doesn't move, he'll cut his feet up if he does." Thankfully I was just standing there fully clothed*.

There have been other night-walking incidents over the years.

One night I woke up half way through eating a burger in the house I shared with my girlfriend. The lounge and passage were filled with smoke which was pouring out of the kitchen. It seems you forget a thing or two when you're sleep-cooking....things like turning the grill off.

My all time favourite sleepwalking story happened at one of my sister's houses. You should be aware that her husband at the time suffered from the same condition. I found out about it the following day when me and sis had a conversation which went something like this...

Sis - "Did you have fun last night?"

Me - "Yep, it was a good night. I think."

"You think?"

"Well me and Brian** had a few so I don't remember it all."

"Did you enjoy the cookies when you got home?"

"I ate cookies when I got home?"

"No."

"No?"

"No...you went to bed."

"So where do cookies come into it?"

"You got up again."

"I don't remember but if you say so..."

"When we went to bed there were cookies..."

"OK."

"They were all the way up the stairs."

"What?"

"One cookie on every stair."

"Really? How did that happen?"

"The trail of cookies led into the bathroom."

"That's odd. I think I'd remember if I did that."

"There was a cookie on the sink...one on the bath and one on the toilet seat."

"Nope, not me. Brian** must have been messing with you."

"Oh yes...Brian
**. I'm glad you mentioned him."

"What else did Brian
** do?"

"Do you remember talking to Brian
** after you went to bed?"

"Actually, now that you mention it, yes. Vaguely."

"Vaguely?"

"Yes, vaguely. I remember the bedroom light being on and he was leaning against the open door yapping with me. Can't remember what it was about though....then you appeared and dragged him off. I remember that bit."

"Yes, I dragged him back to bed. It was 4 am."

"Well no wonder I don't remember anything. Was I even awake?"

"I don't think so. Do you remember anything, erm, strange about Brian
** while you were talking to him?"

"I don't think so. How do you mean strange?"

"You didn't notice he was stark naked?"

"What the fuck?!?!?"

"Didn't think so. Oh, one more thing..."

"There's more?"

"Well, just as I dragged Brian
** out of your room I noticed something."

"What did you notice?"

"There was a big bowl of cookies under your bed. Could you bring them down next time you go up there please?"

*Fully clothed is the natural state for English people. So much so that we are born fully clothed and when we get undressed, we're fully clothed underneath.
**Brian is Irish.

6 comments:

Ali said...

LMFAO at the last bit Michael. Scary stuff though, seriously.

Pauline said...

So you don't remember anything you do when sleepwalking? I feel a story coming on.....


btw do you remember the time I sleepwalked out to my car and tried to get in and drive to work? I'm pretty sure it was you who came out and stopped me, it was when we lived at W. Rd.

Michael said...

Ali - Scary indeed, especially if you live with me and I'm asleep and dreaming about food.

P - I don't remember anything when I'm awake either so there isn't much difference.

Yep I remember. We're a strange bunch.

val said...

"One of my sister's houses" - how many houses does she have. (I'm sorry, the nitpicking sort of does itself).

You are more observant in your sleep than I am awake. I once went to get some lemon squash in my aunt's kitchen, took out the container (the opaque plastic kind, this was 30 years ago), poured some into a glass then diluted it. It was only AFTER I had taken a mouthful that I realised my aunt was keeping bleach in the container.

Alice Amplified said...

Yummm..I love cookies.

This is so weird to read this! I've never given my condition a name... but it seems I suffer the same as you to some extent. I do some crazy-ass things in my sleep. That's what we've always called them.. CrazyAss Things She Does In Her Sleep

1. Fully sound asleep sex (initiated by me, if you catch my drift). "I did what last night? liar!" Yes, yes baby... you did. "Jesus, Mary & Joseph.... I'm sorry"..... No, no, don't be sorry!

2. I left my apartment, got in my car in the driveway and sat there with my hands on the steering wheel. My BF at the time came out, asked me where I was going. I said we needed milk for the party.

3. Left my bed, pulled down the attic ladder from the ceiling (something my whimpy-self can barely do awake).... and crawled up into the attic... sat there for a while, again... the BF found me and escorted me back to bed.

4. I've made and eaten sandwhiches, the only reason I knew I did was by the crusts I found on my end table. And the mess I'd left in the kitchen ( i dont DO messes)

5. I've ran a bath... and did not turn the water off.....

6. Walking, lots and lots of walking.... here, there, everywhere

7. Sitting up in bed and talking about all kinds of stuff... usually secrets I've been keeping (which really sucks, btw..)

The weirdest part about it is anyone who witnesses any of it usually has NO idea I'm sleeping. My eyes are open, I appear fully coherent. I have been told I don't really answer questions though.... and I have a sort of dead-eyes thing going on....

Until lately, I've never been much of a drinker at all... so it couldn't have been booze induced... but I think you're onto something about the anxiety aspect.

Anyway, you are not alone...

Michael said...

Val - I'm not sure if I'd count that one of mine as real sleepwalking because I did remember the smell of bleach from the 'dream' but it did make me consider fitting restraints to my bed :)

Heather - yep a lot of people suffer from it. I was told I once stood up, asked my gf "Why would you want a picture of a dog with three legs?" then got back into bed. Maybe there is some deep psychological reason but if there is, I don't think I want to know.