Sleep Disorders and Werewolves

Sleep Disorders and Werewolves

Have you ever done something unexpected in the night while you were still asleep? I’m talking things like sleep walking, sleep talking, or maybe sleep eating. 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. 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 my parents were watching television. Your eyes are 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 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 wander about when asleep and dreaming, for obvious safety reasons. The brain switches off the body’s ability to move when dreaming. The switch appears to be faulty in the parasomniac.

I am a rabid dreamer and sometimes feel I have been dreaming all night without any deep sleep. We all dream about 5 times a night during what is called REM (rapid-eye movement) sleep. You can see the eyes twitch under the lids of the sleeper 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.


Note: this is an edited repost. The kids finally got over the flu but now the boy has a vomiting/gastro type thing – ah the joys of parenting 😉


23 thoughts on “Sleep Disorders and Werewolves

Add yours

  1. Sleepwalking or strange things in my sleep … not that recall 😉
    I have shared houses with sleepwalkers and I unless I heard crashing about or the front door opening I usually let them wander … their mental maps were quite adequate to navigate the space.
    Oh the joys of parenting … I think we had a two week period earlier in the year when none of the four of us were actually ill with anything … maybe it was longer…

    1. Some people do get in trouble when sleep walking 😉 Yeah this sick thing can go on for ages – my two kids seem to take turns like a relay race – one is sick and gets better, than the other one gets sick then gets better, then the other one gets sick … Thanks Geoff 🙂

  2. The dreaming about the wolves is very interesting. It’s as if you suffer from lycanthropy. Is there something you’re not telling us, Gabe, like the fur on your hands and aversion to silver?

    Seriously though, the dream/sleep world is incredibly interesting and much more complex than we realise. I enjoy hearing about it!

    1. haha -no, it’s my hubby with the lots of hair 😉 but I do have days where I am incredibly tired and feel like I haven’t had a wink of sleep – they often coincide with a full moon the night before – bwahahahaha

  3. I’m being circled by a man on a ride on mower. There’s a distinct breeze in the air that I’m sure I am making out with the sun on my back. But then again, just last night I woke up somewhere that wasn’t here, and I took a deep breath and pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. I was sure it wasn’t a dream, since I could feel the pinch and the air in my lungs, but then I woke up with what sounded like a rabbit chewing on the grass in my ear. The grass wasn’t in my ear of course. If it had been, I would have known I was dreaming again… I think.

    1. hahaha – the old dream in a dream in a dream in a dream scenario – I have them all the time where in the dream I tell myself – this is just a dream, but I’m still asleep. Thanks for sharing Brad.

  4. Years back, I heard a woman on the radio, putting the case for immortality. She argued that what we perceive to be our ‘real’ lives are, in fact, not real at all. But that dreaming is where we actually exist. As I say, it was a while ago, but her proposition was along the lines that our minds, where the dreaming takes place, are separate from our mortal bodies. If our minds exist after death, so does our capacity to dream, and therefore, live. The way she told it was much more convincing than my ramblings, of course.

    1. Anything is possible with the state of play of the space time continnuum – I like the idea that our lives are like a string of spaggheti – a defined length based on the years of life we live, from birth to death – and that the past is here at the same time as the present and the future, but seemingly inaccessible for us apart from the present, but this is only an access issue which can be solved and maybe has by some people. The dream element could well be an alternative but attached world – maybe parallel strings in space. Now this was proposed partially by Einstein so it is not as out there as people think – we just feel that we are moving forward in time because that is the movement we are currenty undertaking 😉 Thanks Martin for your lovely ramblings.

  5. So it’s a sign I’m ‘well-balanced’ that I only remember (at the very best) one dream a month. I always thought it might be that my subconcious wasn’t working through enough stuff or something awful that would eventually mess me up ;p

    Did you roll the wolf onto his back, exposing his belly? When dogs roll onto their back it’s showing they submit to you, so maybe that might have been some symbol for a dangerous problem being defeated/dominated.

    1. I am sure you will have an idea if you are ‘well balance’ or not. I think that we do remember dreams sometimes so we can work through the underlying issue of the day and if the dream is recurrent than the issue is continuuing. If you don’t have many issues to be resolved there is no great need to remember your dreams, I suppose. But that is just a guess on my behalf. I do have some techniques to help a person access their dreams if you want – just have to communicate your desire to your unconscious by telling it stuff. The dog didn’t roll on his back (I have 2 dogs so I know exactly what you mean) – actually I remember that dream vividly and have a pretty good idea what it means. Thanks Kirstie 🙂

  6. We have something in common here. When I was a child I also was a somnambulist, somniloquist and as I got older had lots of difficulty even sleeping. I had recurring dreams as a child and drove my siblings and mother nuts when I was sleepwalking and talking. I was told about what I did so I just have to take their word for it. I have an uncle who had the same problems and now in his old age suffers from narcolepsy. Of my five children four of the five had problems with sleepwalking, the youngest boy so bad we had to put a lock up high on the back door as we found out (much to our dismay from a neighbor) that he was taking late night strolls to go to the school playground to play. I always wondered when I went to check on him why his feet were so cold. Thanks for a really good post.

    1. Wow Renee – we do have a few things in common 😉 These issues are often neurological and genetic in that they run in families. My kids have slept walked and talked and had night terrors etc., That must have been scary when your youngest walked to the park – my goodness! I’ll write about narcolepsy another time but it has similarities in that the order of the sleep stages is out of whack. Cheers Renee 🙂

  7. Remind me never to share a tent with you! Shirl obviously has an acute sense of adventure 😉 I used to sleepwalk regularly when I was a child but haven’t done so for years, although do experience insomnia and that dream/wake confusion thing. My husband’s a somniloquist of the laughing kind, which is a bit weird to hear in the middle of the night.

    1. haha – laughing is nice (better than hearing them whisper someone else’s name 😉 ). Shirl can be worse than me – I woke one night and he was lying across the bed swimming (freestyle) and hitting me with his hands as he swam – haha.

      1. That’s hilarious – your house sounds like a dangerous place! He and mine should get together. Many years ago mine punched me in my ribs in his sleep one night (thankfully with his non-dominant hand) – said he was fighting a shark (that’s his story ;-))

  8. I read that famous psychiatrist Milton Erickson hypnotised (or perhaps just convinced) himself to wake in the middle of the night and write complete articles which in the morning he would have no recall of writing. Story goes that he submitted them to a local newspaper, also doing that with amnesia, and kept carbon copies for himself. It was after seeing the articles in print that he later realized they were his, after finding the carbon copies and comparing them with the articles printed in the newspaper.

    Something about that story thoroughly charmed me. I have been wishing ever since that I could do something similar — either write or draw something without consciously knowing it. I am not sure why I find it intriguing exactly. Perhaps its just this sense that a lot of the ideas are hidden from deliberation. That he could write articles without being consciously aware of it, and that they could be good enough to satisfy a newspaper editor, just made me think that “wow, it’s like two brains in one!”

    Or something like that.

    But that’s just something I read. I dream a lot. Remember many of the dreams. Find them insightful — also mesmerizing in what they seem to say about what my brain does when I’m not around, but I have no actual walking, talking or other adventures that I’m aware of.

    And no prophetic dreams. Your prophetic dreams have been doozies!

    1. Wow, I hadn’t heard that story about Erickson Aletha – bit of a risk sending off something without reading it first – haha. I remember solving a few statistics problems in my sleep – when you are thinking about something for a long time period and struggling with it, that’s when the subconscious can kick in (‘step over idiot I’ll do it for you’ – hahaha). If the subconcious is so wise and clever, I wonder why the conscious and subconscious don’t swap places – makes sense to me 😉

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: