Sleepwalking Is Crazy

I love sleeping. After having sex and reading books, it’s my favorite thing to do in bed. So you may think I was annoyed when my roommate walked into my room at 5 AM this morning, rousing me from my delicious slumber. Instead, I found it amusing to see him standing there in his underwear, glassy-eyed and confused like a moronic zombie.


“Oh, hey,” he said, like he was surprised to find me in my bed an hour before dawn. Must be bewildering when people intrude on your dreams.

I thought he’d leave, but instead he started grabbing my hoodie off the back of my chair.

“Um, that’s my hoodie.”

“Oh,” he said, and paused for a moment, then started grabbing my other hoodie.

“That’s also my hoodie.”

“Oh yeah. I thought… everyone… sometimes… has a new… hoodie…” and then he walked out of the room, but backwards, still facing me, like I was the Queen of England.

If it had never happened before, I’d have been freaked out, but I’m used to it. To his credit, it’s only happened a few times, because after the first incident my roommate started barricading himself in his bedroom with a metal stool. Sometimes I wake up to the sound of him sleeptripping over it.

Sleepwalking is silly to me, but to people who suffer from somnambulism, it can be a serious curse. People can write coherent emails, prepare and eat food, drive cars, ride horses, and even have sex with strangers while sound asleep.

Comedian Mike Birbiglia once went sleeprunning out a second story window. He now sleeps in a sleeping bag with mittens on his hands so he can’t unzip his nightly cocoon. He has to protect himself from himself before nodding off.

Wikipedia has a dedicated page to ‘Homicidal sleepwalking’. Some of the highlights include:

A teenage girl who sleepshot her family members to defend them from a monster.

A guy who sleepbeat his landlady to death, thinking she was a Nazi.

A Parisian dude who sleepswam across the river Seine, stabbed a dude with a sword, and sleepswam home.

Some people who get ty-ty and end up committing sleepmurder later get acquitted due to temporary insanity, while others are found guilty and imprisoned or sentenced to death. Seems like a nightmare either way. And being a jury member on a sleepmurder trial would be no cakewalk. But I feel especially bad for the victims. Seriously, wouldn’t it suck to get murdered by someone who’s asleep? If I ever get murdered, I hope my killer will at least have the common courtesy to be conscious.

Tuna fish swim in their sleep. Swifts sleepfly. Donald Duck sleepwalks through a zoo. Donnie Darko sleeptalks to Frank the Rabbit. Ed Norton turns into Brad Pitt when he’s asleep, so he can manage Project Mayhem. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly sleepdestroy their kitchen in Step Brothers. Lady Macbeth screams “Out, damned spot!” while compulsively sleepwashing her bloodstained hands. The wife in Paranormal Activity gets out of bed and stands there staring at her husband for hours. It’s such a simple scene, yet so scary, because we’re at our most vulnerable when we’re asleep. That’s why sleeping with someone, literally sleeping with someone, is such an intimate act. Perhaps that’s when we’re most ourselves, when our eyes are closed and we’re off in dreamland.

Do monkeys sleepwalk? Do giraffes? Did the dinosaurs?

How do I know I’m not a sleepwalker too? What if every night I eat mayonnaise sandwiches while riding the Q train, and I don’t even know it?

The most interesting human behavior is the stuff nobody can fully explain. Scientists say sleepwalking has to do with genetics and stress, but they don’t really know what’s going on. It’s a mystery, and that’s OK. Mysteries are cool.

I hope my roommate doesn’t kill me. TC mark


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  • David Trahan


    One time I DESTROYED my room with a pillow, because I thought there was a squirrel running around in it. My poor mother was downstairs sleeping and thought I was being attacked. 

  • EarthToNichole

    I think it has a lot to do with stress. The night before I started high school, my mother found me hanging over our second floor balcony at 3am,muttering something about needing to make sure I had enough pencils. I have no recollection of the event.

  • Asdf

    Why don’t you barricade your door?

    •!/WordNerd Ethan

      Barricading my door is unnecessary. He’s an occasional sleepwalker, not a zombie.

      • Asdf

        I took your final sentence to mean that you were worried about him harming you whilst sleepwalking. 

        Reading it again without the context of the article, which goes into the depths of homicidal sleepwalking, I suppose you simply meant: “I hope he doesn’t kill me for outing him on the internet as a sleepwalker.”

      •!/WordNerd Ethan

        Yeah, that double meaning was intentional. But that final sentence was also a joke. I don’t want you needlessly worrying about my safety, ASDF.

      • Asdf

        Don’t worry. I’m not preoccupied with your preoccupation with my preoccupation with your well-being.

  • bee

    Thinking about dinosaurs sleepwalking is the happiest thought I may have ever had.  Thank you for that.

  • Elevenelevenxo

    True story….my ex went through a weird period of sleep-walking. It usually happened after he had been drinking heavily. And unfortunately it frequently involved him urinating in places other than the freaking toilet. Once was in the refrigerator, the night before Thanksgiving, all over the Tofurky I had bought and was quite excited about trying. Another was in the doorway of the bathroom all over my hair dryer and straightener.

    One other time we were staying at a cabin with friends and he ended up naked on the couch with someone we had just met the day before. The guy (on the couch) was understandably very freaked out, but it’s hilarious to recount now.

    I’m so glad I don’t have to put up with that anymore….

  • Anonymous

    and now a good portion of my night is going to be dedicated to learning everything I can about homicidal sleepwalking, in case it’s ever a category on Jeopardy. 

  • Jordana Bevan

    i couldn’t stop laughing?

  • heehee

    one time i sleep peed in the washing machine

  • Samantha

    I sleep walk and it terrifies me. The only way that I know that I have done it is if I have woken up in a completely different set of clothes, or with the laundry done or when someone replies to a text that I sent in the middle of the night.
    My shrink said that it’s also connected to my sleep terrors.
    I think that I might try mittens.

    • bec

      I’d be SO excited if I did my laundry in my sleep

  • Sahar

    my dad does that sometimes. I get terrified when it happens it’s really not funny ..he doesn’t talk when it happens though

    I also didn’t know about the murder thing lol..THANK YOU, I feel more at peace now :P

  • Adrienne

    Serious, yet hilarious. 

    •!/WordNerd Ethan

      That’s what I want my tombstone to say.

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