11 True-Life Stories That Explain What It’s Really Like To Sleepwalk

15 Apr

Hawrai Ahmed / EyeEm via Getty Images

Some sleepwalkers wake up in a different room than where they fell asleep. Others find themselves eating from the refrigerator. While still others even discover themselves sleep bathing or driving.

Sleepwalking is a type of parasomnia, or abnormal behaviors that happen to people in their sleep, that “results in walking or performing other complex behaviors,” according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Yet it can be very difficult for sleepwalkers to explain what it feels like because, well, they are asleep. In fact, they often have no memory of what happened the next day, Dr. Charlene Gamaldo, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, previously told The Huffington Post. The memories they do have are usually if they are awakened during an episode, notice evidence of it the next day or hear about it from family or friends.

Our readers shared with us what they could remember from their sleepwalking stories (or heard about from others) to give us insight into how it really feels –- and affects everyone differently.

“When under stress, I not only sleepwalk but also hide my possessions necessary to get ready for work. I do eventually find the hidden items.”
–Barbara Urbain

“For me, sleepwalking would often include a moment or two of being able to see what was happening, yet not have a clue why and no ability to control it … The most dangerous was one day when I slept drove … The next thing I remembered I was in the parking lot of the local tavern.”
–Katie Valentino

car lights in the dark

“My sisters had come home from going out. They said that all of a sudden I jumped up off the couch, came running into the kitchen with the blanket wrapped around me and …. collapsed into the fetal position.” –Jocelyn Ellis

“When I was a child, I walked downstairs to the kitchen, got an orange and a knife, sat down at the table, sliced the orange and ate it. I didn’t remember doing it.” –Bonnie Warnock

sliced oranges

“What usually triggers my sleepwalking is the urge to go to the bathroom, but I usually find myself eating out of the fridge or drinking something and then realize I still need to go pee.” –Steve Ficek

“I have gotten up at night and opened my bedroom window, when I always keep it shut and locked. All of these episodes I have no memory of. I just see the remnants of it the next day.” –Larry Alcorn

night open window

“Once I was so worried about the gas heater in my tiny apartment that I got up, used the matches and turned it on full blast … I woke up to a very hot apartment.” –Lucie Casares

“My teenage daughter went through a stressful period in high school when she would ‘sleep bathe.’” –Laura Rupe-Jackson

bathtub in the dark

“I had gotten up in my sleep, opened [a peanut butter] container, removed the seal, pulled a spoon out of the drawer and ate a big spoon of peanut butter, then went back to bed.” –Ken Shelley

“When I was younger, my mom would often find me trying to get out of our house and eventually had to put locks on the doors that were out of my reach.” –Brianna Blankenship

door knob in dark

“When I would babysit for my neighbors, I often would sleepwalk home late at night and then wake while getting into my own bed. I had to run back to the neighbor’s house before they came home. It was terrifying.”
–Kimberley D.

front of house at night