Sleeping is a very interesting phenomena that refreshes the mind and feels so freaking good. It re-energizes by putting us into a state of reversible unconsciousness and muscle paralysis. But while we are resting peacefully, our brain is most active at this time. The only part that shuts off is the logic center. It’s no wonder we dream of things that make no sense — our brain is firing off like mad with no reasoning filter. We can all relate to this. However, there is a sub population that are, or have been, sleepwalkers, and yes, I was one of them. I think this happens because the motor muscles fail to shut off. So the envisioning in the brain is translated directly into body movement. Many kids who sleepwalk grow out of it because their brain eventually learns how to properly paralyze the muscles. Fortunately, I grew out of mine a long time ago.
Everyone asks me how it feels like to sleepwalk and if it’s true that I walk with my eyes closed with my hands out like a zombie, and if it’s true that it’s bad to wake them up. Well I wasn’t very severe so I can’t speak for others. I can’t confirm any myths, but no, I did not have my eyes closed. They were opened, as if I was awake. I seemed to have a regular routine. I get up to do the same thing each time. In the middle of the night, I go to the bathroom and start brushing my teeth, as I would when I get ready for school. The strange thing is that my mom has caught me sleepwalking every time it happened. She would come to the bathroom, squinting and puzzled and ask, “What are you doing?”. And I always respond as a matter of fact, “brushing my teeth…duh…” I was still dreaming. I didn’t think there was anything wrong. Then she would proceed with, “You’re crazy, it’s 3:00am.” And I would raise my eyebrows and think, “So….?” It’s really unnerving having her stand there in the black hallway and she would either talk to me until I wake up, or we stare at each other until I wake. It’s a really cool feeling at that awakening moment and it takes a great deal of thinking to actually realize I was dreaming. I mean, when you wake up in bed, you know it was a dream because you’re suddenly taken out of the dream setting, and even then, sometimes we get a bit confused and wake up to, “whoa, where am I?” You get the same disoriented feeling when you wake up from a sleepwalk, but this time, you’re in the exact same environment as you were just a second prior. It’s just that, you get your mind and logic back with your eyes already opened. So there I was, with toothpaste foaming in my mouth, my mom staring at me, me staring at myself in the mirror, thinking, “what the heck am I doing?” It feels like a life changing epiphany when the mystery becomes clear: Oh, I was sleepwalking.. again.
There was another moment when I kind of slept walked when I started to frantically search for my toothbrush in my bed. I seem to really love my toothbrush. Again, my mom must have been passing by coincidentally and heard the shuffles. She came in and asked me what I was looking for, and I told her I’m searching for my toothbrush. She said, “Are you dreaming?” and I respond, “no! My toothbrush was here.” I don’t remember what happened after that but I guess I somehow went back to bed.
And of course, I managed to pull off the stereotypical sleepwalk that people get the impression of: the kind straight from a horror film. I walked into my brother’s room and sat at the end of his bed, facing away with my back towards him. I remember this so clearly and thank goodness he’s a deep sleeper because if he woke up and saw a figure sitting on his bed, he would have kicked me to the wall. But as did all other times, Mama came to the rescue. I have no idea how she always hears me walking across the hall. She said, “Why are you sitting there?” With that, I woke up, realized I was dreaming, and went back to sleep in my room.
I don’t sleepwalk anymore, but I must say, I’m glad I did because it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I think it must be somewhat hereditary. My dad used to sleepwalk too but he was worse. He was the type that would go down the stairs and do stuff around the house. But yes, in a nutshell, it just feels like a normal dream, except you’re acting it out and you wake up where it leaves off. It can be confusing as hell :)