A few weeks ago I had just fallen asleep on the couch when I awoke to the sound of someone trying to open our front door. My heart was immediately racing. I kicked my snoring husband, trying unsuccessfully to wake him.
“Chris! Chris! Wake up!” I hissed. The front door knob turned again and it was clear Chris would be of no help. I’d have to bludgeon this intruder to death all by myself. I leaned forward and craned my neck to see the front door. It was dark but I could see a figure in the entryway–he was already in the house! In a cold sweat, I slinked off the couch and crept toward a lamp, the closest “weapon” I could find.
But as I tiptoed, nearly pissing down my leg, to the lamp, I looked back toward the door and realized that the intruder was not only short for an adult but was wearing a green flowered tank top. Could it be that the sound of someone trying to get in was actually the sound of Layla trying to get out? I was totally confused.
I approached her cautiously. “Layla?” I asked, “What are you doing, babe?”
“I need to go to the bathroom,” was her reply. That’s when I realized she was sleepwalking. Layla used to sleepwalk occasionally but she hadn’t done it for at least two years. It was scary that she was trying to leave the house in her sleep. I think she was too confused to get the door open, and the alarm would have sounded. But the whole encounter had me freaked out.
According to the National Academy for Childhood Sleep Disorders, sleepwalking is more common in boys than girls and, in children, most often occurs between the ages of six and twelve years old. If a child continues to sleepwalk after the age of nine (Layla turns nine at the end of this month), the incidence of sleepwalking in adulthood increases by 75%. The NACSD has found that sleepwalking often has a genetic tendency.
My mom was a sleepwalker when she was a child. When I was girl, I loved to hear about the time she woke up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, walked over to her dresser, opened the drawer, sat down and peed in it, then went back to bed. That must be where Layla gets the sleepwalking from.
I sleep-talk, and I do a mean Moonwalk, but I don’t think I have ever sleepwalked. Chris doesn’t sleepwalk but he does sleep really heavily. When he’s in his R.E.M. cycle, it’s nearly impossible to wake him. He snores heavily, too. I often elbow him when the snoring gets really loud and I beg him to stop. Earlier this year he forgot what snoring was while he was sleeping. It was really strange, and it only lasted a little while.
For about two weeks, this happened almost every night:
Me: Chris, will you please stop snoring?
Me: Stop snoring, please stop snoring!
Chris: What’s snoring?
Me: Snoring! You’re snoring when you breathe, dammit!
Chris: What is snoring?
Me: You’ve got to be fucking with me. Snoring, Chris! You are grunting and practically choking in your sleep and it’s loud and I can’t fall asleep!!
By this point he was usually awake enough to understand. I’m glad the snoring amnesia didn’t last very long, but I still wonder what was going on with him. Oh well, I’ll take the snoring, snoring amnesia, and the sleepwalking over a legitimate intruder any night.