Have you ever done something unexpected in the night while you were still asleep.  Other people might even have thought you were really awake. If so, you may have a parasomnia.

Millions of people have parasomnias, a type of sleep disorder with sleep-wake transition issues. I’m talking things like sleep walking, sleep talking, and for some people sleep eating.

It can be a very interesting place, the world of parasomnias.

I am a somnambulist,  somniloquist, a sometimes insomniac, a radical dreamer, with a touch of narcolepsy just for fun. Don’t you love these words – sounds like something out of a Shakespeare play.

A somnambulist is a sleep walker and to sleep walk is very common among children. I used to sleep walk all the time. I’d get out of bed and head out to the living room where Mum and Dad were watching TV.  You have your eyes open when sleep walking and you can see what’s happening but you are trapped in the world of sleep and have no control of what you are doing. It’s like being a puppet with your unconscious pulling the strings.

I shared a bedroom with my sister Lisa when we were kids and she was the primary witness to my somnambulism. One night I was standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair while still asleep. Another time while sleep walking I started attacking her leg.

A somniloquist is a sleep talker. Often the talking is mumbled and hard to decipher. That’s just as well isn’t it?

So what is going on here.  The body is not supposed to move when asleep and dreaming, for obvious safety reasons. The brain switches off the bodies ability to move when dreaming. This switch appears to be faulty in the parasomniac.

I am a rabid dreamer and sometimes feel I have dreamt all night and not got any deep sleep. We all dream about 5 times a night during what is called REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep. You can see a sleepers eyes twitch under their lids during REM sleep. Most people only remember the final dream in the morning when they have been woken from sleep by something like an alarm (which has cut into the REM stage). Some ‘well balanced’ people don’t remember their dreams at all.

I love being able to access my dreams but it can play havoc with the next day. I sometimes feel like I am still dreaming during the day (my poem Realm of the REM pretty much sums up what it feels like for me). I can be tired and disoriented, not sure if I’m really awake.

When I was a teenager I had a recurring dream that I was a werewolf and that I was eating people. Quite a nightmare that one and no comfort to my sister whose leg I had attacked. My brother Daniel used to dream he was being attacked by a werewolf.

The other night I dreamt a wolf was circling me in a menacing manner. I walked up to him and pushed his head and body to the ground, effortlessly. He looked up at me and then slinked off, continuing to circle but knowing his place.

22 thoughts on “Sleep Disorders and Werewolves

  1. Your werewolf dreams fascinate me. I have heard of families having common themes in dreams such as you dreaming of being the werewolf and your brother dreaming of being attacked by one. That intrigues me.

    My Dad was a terrible sleepwalker. When we were kids we lived in the bush right by a gully. He was found standing on the edge at three in the morning many times – fast asleep. My Mum was scared to death he was going to fall. Once he had a bath with his PJs and slippers on. He never remembered the sleepwalking at all. The brain is extraordinarily complex.

    1. Selma, your Dad is very lucky he didn’t come a cropper. Some people have to be locked in or restrained in the night so as not to have an accident. I can remember some of my sleep walking episodes, bit like being a zombie, but not all of them. Yesterday on the news their was a lady who was sleep driving – now that’s dangerous.

  2. This is going to be your second book, dreams, living your dreams, could say leaving your dreams.
    My dad was a very funny sleep talking, even responding which gave a very short and surrealistic conversation. I am a bit too!Very interesting post.

  3. We used to put chain locks on top of all the outside doors because I hand a sleepwalking son. He once was found walking down the street in his jammies, sound asleep.

    I wish I remembered my dreams as you do. Nice writing.

    Pearl

  4. intense. i often have found myself airborne in dreams. flying. so real, once i was flying low over the ocean and could feel the salt spray on my arms. i understand that there is lucidity to dreaming when you are able to do something like simply push your finger against a werewolf and have it back off. fascinating and informative too.

    1. So do I tipota, in fact flying is what I do most in my dreams and it’s so much fun (though sometimes I can’t fly properly and I don’t like those ones much). I feel like I’ve seen more of the world in my dreams than in real life sometimes. We might meet up while flying in our dreams some nights.

  5. I think there is so much about the world of sleep/dreams that we don’t understand, and that it borders on something spiritual, something beyond our comprehension. I have plenty of wonderful dreams. But I do have terriying recurring dreams of tornados. In fact, I dreamt of them last night… what’s up with that?

    1. Bryan, it’s not surprising that you are dreaming of tornadoes. I think you are probably caught up in a whirlwind (tornado) of activities at the moment and are feeling overwhelmed and you are probably writing about stuff that is bringing up issues that are knocking you about a bit. I dream of giant waves and drowning when I’m going through a turbulent time. I dream I’m a strong swimmer in clear water when things are going well.

  6. Dreams are my hobby Gabrielle. Seriously. I used to sleepwalk and talk as well. Tell me, do you lucid dream and/or leave your body during sleep? Your werewolf dream reminds me of my spider dream. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this site:
    http://sleeptalkinman.blogspot.com It’s a blog by a woman who audio tapes her husband’s nocturnal conversations and they are hilarious. Very bizarre lol

    1. Hi Val – sorry for the delay replying but this comment went into spam for some reason. I do have lucid dream and can actively participate in my own dream – it’s lots of fun. I have been known to dream with my eyes open and can even go to the toilet while still dreaming – ha,ha. This happens most when my brain is in hyper drive, like after a party – the party continues on in my room and I’d swear it was still happening all around me.

    1. I love that Stafford – somnambard – ha,ha. Actually, since moving to this little town by the sea (3 years now) my sleep as improved out of sight and I sleep soundly most nights – might be the sound of the ocean at night. I’m not even tired in the day now, like I was for most of my adult life.

  7. Ok, Ok, add Somnam-sonar-surfae. A sub species that sleeps best within earshot of the beach! I promise that is the last. Well, it’s not a core promise. Ha!

  8. My wife used to have migrane headaches(the real thing -throw up and cant see kind of thing) and sleep talk/walk a lot before we were married.
    The migranes went away almost as soon as we married and the sleep talk/walking has slowly faded. Yeah, I’m good like that:).
    My dreams can be very vivid especially when I dream of music.New music that is experienced with extra senses,something that is whole like there is nothing else.
    These are rare but sweet.I cannot read music or play an instrument or sing.

    I have died in a dream. Fell off a building and layed there dead with violins and cellos playing :duh duh duh duhhhhhh!

    sorry to ramble,great post

    1. Is that Beethoven’s 5th? Wow, you are a magi in the marital home – ha,ha – no need for migraine tablets. I bet you can sing (in the shower). I love hearing about other people’s dreams, so ramble on and on and on opoetoo.

        1. I am yet to meet a ‘well-balanced person’, I don’t know where they are all hiding – I’m sure they would be a little boring for my tastes. Your dreams are fascinating and thanks for sharing opoetoo.

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