Have you ever wondered how you wound up naked in the hall closet clutching a pint of Ben & Jerry's? Or how you woke up with the tip of your finger cut off? A few doctors may have answers.
Consequences of nighttime eating can include injuries like black eyes from walking into a wall or hand cuts from a prep knife, or dental problems from gnawing on frozen food. Upwards of 10 percent of adults suffer from some sort of parasomnia, or sleep disorder, like sleepwalking or night terrors. Some have driven cars or performed inappropriate sexual acts - all while in a sleep-induced fog. About 1 percent, mostly women, raid the refrigerator."
Nothing like taking the car out for a spin while you're sound asleep. Sounds like fun, actually. But some people turn into sleep creeps, like this old-timer:
In "Sleep Runners," a 2004 documentary about parasomnias, 75-year-old Rowena Pope of Circle Pines, Minn., recalls how one night her usually gentle husband, Cal, "began pummeling me and kicking me violently. I shook him and awakened him, and he had no idea what he was doing."
Acting out some pent-up rage, maybe? Doctors say 'no,' and they have a scientific term to back it up:
Non-REM sleep disorders include the sleep eaters and those with so-called sexsomnia, in which people can hurt themselves from violent masturbation or injure their bed partner with aggressive sexual behavior, all done in a sleep-like state. Unlike REM sleep behavior disorder, non-REM sleep disturbances occur when the patient is not dreaming, and their eyes may be open. As Dr. Schmidt put it, they are in a kind of no-man's land,. not fully awake nor fully asleep."
Eyes open, kicking the shit out of your bed partner, making a sandwich, and masturbating all at the same time. Sexsomnia. That's totally normal.