JUN 10, 2016 07:40 AM PDT

10 facts you didn't know about sleepwalking

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Sleepwalkers have been depicted as zombie-like beings who stumble through night, eyes glazed over and arms outstretched. Though in reality behaviors aren't generally that odd, there are some unusual facets to the sleep disorder. This video explains 10 weird facts about sleepwalking.

10. Treks aren't necessarily local. Sure, a lot don't make it past their living rooms, but from time to time, people really go the distance. Last fall, a Colorado woman was found 9 miles from her home. The year before, a 4-year-old Norwegian girl wandered 3 miles through a storm to a nearby town.
9. It can bring out one's inner artist. Just ask Lee Hadwin of North Wales. He spends his days as a nurse with no particular interest in art, but while in a sleepwalking state creates accomplished drawings. He says he has no training in the medium and has no idea where the skill comes from.
8. Episodes occurring during the REM cycle can signal serious health issues. Sleepwalking-type behaviors most often occur during the non-rapid-eye-movement, or NREM, cycles. When they present during the dream state, they're classified as a REM behavior disorder and can be an early sign of Lewy body dementia or Parkinson's disease.
7. Some people temporarily gain superpowers. An 18-year-old not only jumped from her 25-foot-high window while sleeping, she did so without sustaining any injuries. Another teen managed to sleepwalk her way 130 feet up and 40 feet across a crane without doing herself harm.
6. Waking a sleepwalker isn't always a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief, heart attacks and comas are not consequences of forcing a sleepwalking person into full consciousness. If fact, if they're about to put themselves in a perilous situation, it may be the best route. That said, gently guiding them back to bed is preferable.
5. Don't be surprised if an abruptly awoken sleepwalker punches you. If a person is jostled from sleep while in an unexpected environment, there's a chance they will be afraid, confused, and lash out.
4. Working while sleepwalking is not unheard of. A chef was known to head to the kitchen and whip up some food, and another man took advantage of the extra moments of mobility to mow the lawn.
3. Inexplicably tight pants may be a sign you're doing it. A woman in the UK watched her calorie intake and exercised regularly, but put on dozens of pounds regardless. Similarly, a university student grew from a size 10 to a 16 for no immediately apparent reason. In both cases, it was discovered the women were raiding the cupboards and refrigerator while sleepwalking.
2. While some sleepwalkers talk, others prefer to email. An Ohio woman did, indeed, sleepwalk to her computer, log in, and start typing. Though the emails she sent mostly made no sense, one of the messages included a request that the recipient drop by with some wine and caviar.
1. Sleepwalking is most common in children. According to a study performed by the Stanford University Sleep Epidemiology Research Center, up to 30% of children have experienced the disorder. Typically, the behavior disappears by adulthood.

Source: Geobeats
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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