Sleepwalking


I haven’t slept very well the past few nights. I go to bed at a decent hour and then I just lay there. Forever. And ever. I end up having to take melatonin. The melatonin turns me into a zombie in the mornings because I can never sleep it out of my system. It wears off just before bed time, and just in time for me to take another dose. At least I have had lots of time to think about things while laying there waiting for sleep to come. Important issues too, like where fruit flies come from, and if I should really leave that banana peel in my garbage over a span of three days, what would I do if I started going blind, or, if I grew three more inches all the things that would be easier for me to do.

My brain likes to sit in that half-sleep state for a long time. It acts as if I gave it a straight injection of caffeine, running a mile a minute, remembering everything that I did not do that day and compiling lists of everything I need to do the next day.

I have conversations in my half-sleep state with people I know, or people I don’t know. I wake up in the morning and wonder if those conversations actually happened. There have even been instances I have to check my phone to make sure I didn’t dial someone in my sleep. The other night in my half-sleep I carried on a nice conversation with a new acquaintance about our favorite colors, apparently his is aqua, mine is yellow. And then he asked if I wanted any of his bread pudding, and I said no thank you I don’t like bread pudding, which is an outright lie because I love the stuff. It was a good time until I woke up and realized how creepy I am.

I used to sleep walk when I was younger, and I am pretty sure I still do sometimes. There will be mornings where I find a coffee mug on my night stand, or things pulled out of my bathroom cupboard. Sister Fierce remembers, when we were younger, getting up for water one night and finding me sitting in Crazy Lady’s rocking chair singing to myself. Talk about really creepy.  I used to attempt to talk with my parents late at night, I would stumble my way into the living room and stand there until they asked me what I was doing, and eventually got into the habit of telling me, go back to bed Kate. I followed directions really well while sleepwalking. I believe my subconscious was set on watching Friends episodes with my parents.

They say that sleepwalking is a sign of sleep deprivation. It is more common in children than adults, and if one of your parents suffered from sleepwalking then your chance increases drastically that you’ll have the same trouble.

Mr. Green was a sleepwalker. He once tried to drive away while asleep.

So, thanks for that Dad.

Stress can be a factor in sleepwalking, nighttime seizures, nighttime asthma (I did not realize you could have asthma only in the night, how does that even make sense?), and any kind of sleep aides or medicine that is used as a sedative. Perhaps my melatonin isn’t as helpful as I think. Here is the real kicker though, the last contributing factor on WebMD’s little list:

Psychiatric disorders, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, or dissociative states, such as multiple personality disorder

MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER!! This is something I have an irrational fear about. I was told that females don’t normally develop disorders until their early twenties, and because of this fun fact I have always feared I would start sprouting up different personalities the minute I hit 21. I breathed a slight sigh of relief when I turned 25 because in my mind it means I am out of the danger zone. But perhaps not… perhaps I am completely unaware of my other personalities. [Insert Twilight Zone background music.]

[Insert lame joke about one of those personalities cleaning the bathroom.]

[Insert another lame joke about all women having several personalities.]

There are people who have allegedly killed people while sleepwalking. I’m not kidding. There is even a name for it – homicidal somnambulism. This is the stuff Katelyn looks up when she is bored…

*Warning if you are under the age of 18, stop reading here* (Like that really stops anyone.)

Case A

The year is 1846 (for those who can’t do math that was… a long time ago). A man by the name of Albert Tirrell is accused of slitting the throat of a prostitute, nearly decapitating her, setting fire to the brothel she worked for, and then fleeing to good ol’ New Orleans. His lawyer goes before the jury and says, “Dear Albert Tirrell here has had issues with sleepwalking for years.” And the jury says back, “Oh, well that explains everything! Not guilty!” He was supposedly the very first person to use sleepwalking as his defense.

Albert Tirrell later went off and joined a Native American tribe, seeking help from natural medicinal aides for his somnambulism. He was not judged by the tribe, but welcomed and given the name of Red Hands.

That last part was made up.

Case B

Kenneth Parks in 1987 woke up one evening and drove 14 miles to his in-law’s house. Once there he proceeded to bludgeon (not my word choice, but accurate nonetheless) his mother-in-law, attempt to strangle his father-in-law, and then took a kitchen knife and stabbed them both. The mother-in-law died, the father-in-law barely survived. After the whole ordeal Parks actually drove himself to a police station, confused and unsure of what had just transpired. His hand had severed tendons but he seemed unaware of the pain. Because of this, coupled with his history and his family’s history with sleepwalking, he was found not guilty in court. I’m not sure if his wife found him not guilty too. I couldn’t find that information.

Case C (and the most graphic)

The year is 2003’ish and the murderer is Stephen Reitz. He was accused of murdering a woman by the name of Eva Weinfurtner during their “romantic” trip to Catalina Island. Reitz claimed he was sleepwalking when he took a flowerpot and smashed Weinfurtner’s head with it, dislocated her arm, took a plastic fork and successfully punctured her with it, and fractured her wrist, jaw, facial bones, and skull. The craziest part were the three stab wounds on the back of her neck they discovered, made from Reitz’s pocketknife, that resembled those a fisherman leaves when killing a shark. Reitz says he vaguely remembers fighting a male intruder, so…. his claim is he was dreaming? He supposedly had a history of sleepwalking according to his parents. He also had a history of violence towards Weinfurtner. Once incident in particular was documented where he had broken into her apartment, wielding a knife and told her, “I’m going to gut you like a fish.” Needless to say he was charged with murder in the first degree.

[Insert lame joke about not going to bed angry.]

For the most part people who sleepwalk do daily activities: combing their hair, turning the TV on, petting the dog, eating some food, using the restroom, etc. It was thought for the longest time that they were acting out their dreams but that isn’t thought to be true now. Sleepwalking happens during a NREM state of sleep which means your brain is inactive but your body is active. So sleepwalking being related to zombies actually rings true for the most part.

If someone filmed me while sleepwalking I would be so upset, but watching other people sleepwalking = lots of amusement:

And then here she is watching herself sleepwalking:

And just for kicks, because I find it hilarious:

You all have an awesome weekend now guys!

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