Does it count as a sleepwalking episode if there’s no walking involved?  In the middle of the night I woke up to find myself sitting up, leaning over and digging through the pile of clean clothes at the foot of the bed.  I don’t know how long I’d been doing it and I don’t remember any dreams.  I do remember thinking at the time, “Oh no I’m doing weird things in my sleep again.  No wait, this is perfectly reasonable because”  — now I can’t remember why I thought it was reasonable, I was still using sleep-logic — and then I lay back down and continued sleeping.  It clearly wasn’t reasonable, and I’m not even 100% positive it really happened; I had the house to myself so there’s nobody who can confirm.  It sounds like something I’d do, though.

The first time I can recall any sleepwalking — or sleep-laundry-folding as the case may be — is from when I was about 15 and had a bad fever.  The past couple years the instances usually involve sitting up and pointing to the closet or corner in apparent terror and then lying back down when told that everything’s fine and I should go back to sleep.  In the past year I woke up once when he asked me what I was doing rifling through the clothes in the closet at a pre-dawn hour (“Um, nothing, just checking the pile of your jeans I guess, not really sure, sorry about that…”) and another time I was out of bed near the bathroom door, just hanging out, passing the time on my feet.

It’s unnerving to know that while I’m asleep I’m still capable of action.  Shouldn’t part of my brain be busy keeping my body paralyzed during these phases of sleep?  There doesn’t seem to be as distinct a boundary between being asleep and being awake for me that there should be.  I sometimes have lucid dreams when I know I’m dreaming and can fly or rise from the dead, or wake myself up from a nightmare.  There are the moments when my eyes open and I have visual hallucinations and while I know that there’s probably not somebody rappelling down into our bedroom through the ceiling fan opening I can see it with my own eyes and despite all sensory evidence to the contrary it’s just a dream and any moment now I’ll shake my head and feel the sensation of waking up and of course there’s nobody else in the room and the image will fade the way dreams do.

Then there are the episodes when I wake up to find that I physically acted out what I remember dreaming (Dear college roommate: sorry for turning off your alarm causing you to be late to a final exam, I was dreaming about a bomb that I had to defuse, you see….), and still other times like last night when I discover that I was doing something without recalling either dreams or actions.  I think it’s somehow related to being such a heavy sleeper — I can sleep through anything, including my own bizarre actions.

July 4, 2009. Words.

One Comment

  1. Mom replied:

    good grief, rappelling down the fan? turning off the final exam alarm? possibly hereditary (I once was found standing on my bed in Liberia pointing to the window where some alleged invisible intruder had come). Nontheless VERY well written. Keep exercising your wonderful skill

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