When they hear about parasomnia or sleep-related disorders that lead to atypical actions, people instantly think about sleepwalking. Although sleepwalking or somnambulism, as it is dubbed in the medical terminology, is not perceived as normal, it is by far one of the least strange or potentially harmful behaviors. Think of it this way, while you are sleepwalking, the worst thing that could happen to you is stubbing your toe on the nearby furniture. The cases that we’re about to present in this article will reveal that there are more dangerous but sometimes hilarious activities related to parasomnias.
1. Extreme somniloquy, the graphic depiction of one’s dream
It is true that mild sleep disorders involving sleep muttering are not that uncommon and you have probably shared the bed with someone who talks in his sleep at least once. However, songwriter Dion McGregor, has taken somniloquy to a whole new level, as he became an actually prolific narrator of his own dreams every night back in the 60s. The level of coherency proprietary to McGregor’s vivid dream depictions was so high that his roommate decided to record one such sessions. Unfortunately, the graphic content of his dream’s description would be enough to make some adult movie directors blush!
2. Divorcing your spouse
Another case in which coherent somniloquy caused trouble was when a Muslim man began uttering the word “talaq” to his wife during his sleep. In Arabic, this is the word for divorce and the fact that he repeated it three times made the Court consider the separation official from the legal point of view.
3. Brutally killing your in-laws
When the jury found Ken Parks not guilty for the brutal slaughter of his in-laws while sleepwalking, many people were outraged. However hard to believe it may be that a person can get out of bed, drive to a person’s home, strangle and stab the residents and then drive to the police station to confess his crime – all before he wakes up –, the psychiatrists who investigated the case said that was exactly what happened. And Ken Parks is only one of the 68 homicidal somnambulism cases reported so far.
4. Eating junk food
The Night Eating Syndrome essentially implies that a person frequently eats hefty meals during the hours of the night. These meals typically comprise of junk food and other similarly unhealthy treats, but the difference between this syndrome and its sleep related version is that in the latter case, the person is not awake during the act. Cases in which NS-RED patients are caught consuming aliments and even sauces like mayonnaise directly from the container are pretty common.
5. Preparing a healthy meal
At the opposite pole, you have those people who are not as interested in eating the food as they are in preparing it. Truth be told, in spite of their best efforts, cooking while they are asleep is clumsy and the dishes are not exactly gourmet chef material, but records indicate that some sleepwalkers even utilized the stove or the microwave to boil water or heat up food.
6. Cheating on your life partner
Sleep-sex, which in the medical field is also referred to as sexsomnia, is another behavior that can have serious repercussions. Although there is no accepted explanation for the condition and in the vast majority of cases the patients limit the act to self-pleasuring, there have been reports of people attempting to have sex with strangers or members of the household while dozing off. The hazard of this psychological problem is that the behavior can lead to aggressiveness, assault and even rape.
7. Throwing yourself out the window
Another risky behavior proprietary to sleepwalking is that you might find yourself on the edge of a window about to jump or worse, go through with it. Self-defenestration has nothing to do with the attempted suicide and psychologists claim that the representation of the surroundings generated by the brain during sleep is significantly different from reality. One of the latest cases that generated a lot of hype happened in 2007, when a teen jumped out the window of his flat located on the 4th floor. However, the cause of his action was also what saved him from sustaining major injuries, because thanks to the relaxed state of his muscles he only suffered minor lesions.
8. Planning a party and sending invitations to your friends
Much like somniloquy, few people can write intelligibly during sleep, much less utilize the email to send out party invitations. However, one 44 year old lady did. She got out of bed, turned on the computer and messaged three of her friends to come over the next day and bring wine and caviar with them. She even specified the time of the party, 4 p.m. When she read the replies the next day, the woman had no recollection of having sent those emails.
9. Conducting a symphony
While H.F. Rosenthal never sleepwalked to the stage and conduct the orchestra, his wife found him passionately directing the symphony and reproducing the sound of every instrument by voice from the comfort of his living room. One might say that there is nothing wrong with this behavior and many music enthusiasts tend to do it when they get excited about a certain piece, but Rosenthal was deeply asleep at the time. Although he worked as a reporter by day, H. F. Rosenthal also enjoyed his part-time maestro job, so that is most likely the explanation for his bizarre sleepwalking behavior.
10. Becoming an artistic genius
Quite different from the aforementioned case of Rosenthal, Lee Hadwin has absolutely no daytime interest in his sleepwalking activity: drawing. Try as he might, Hadwin can’t draw to save his life when he is awake. However, as soon as he falls asleep, he begins sketching masterpieces with an astounding rapidity and precision. There have been numerous recordings of his 20-90 minute sleep-drawing sessions, but skeptics still doubt the authenticity of his phenomenon. An argument that might support Hadwin’s claims is that he is able to create works of art although he never had any formal or informal artistic education.