I’m not quite sure why this is a month of sleep adventures. It could be the summer solstice, and all the extra sun I’m experiencing. Maybe my brain is trying to make sense of my recent move. Perhaps the stress of deadlines and writing is putting me over the edge. Whatever the cause, I’m sleepwalking.
Not in this moment, clearly, but last week I had at least 3 instances, and three the week before. It’s a lot. I’ve been a restless sleeper my whole life. Any odd noise will wake me, and I sleep best in total darkness and rainstorms. When I actually am sleeping, I kick, turn in circles, talk, dream, and occasionally sleepwalk. I was about 3 the first time I remember waking up somewhere other than where I went to sleep, and my father soon took up a position sleeping on the couch to ease his backaches and make sure I didn’t leave the house in the night. A couple of times he tried to shake me awake, but quickly learned not to. Sleepwalkers can wake violently if startled, and that’s me to a T. I flailed, cried, and screamed, and it took 2 or 3 minutes to calm down enough to realize everything was fine, but the whole house was awake by then.
I also have very definite sleep walking habits.
When I was very young I mostly stripped naked and wandered around the house. Occasionally I’d wander into the bathroom and fill up the bathtub with water, or go to the kitchen and put all the glasses on the counter. Once I put all the dairy in the freezer, to much confusion the next morning. Also only once, I put on my coat and shoes, unlocked the front door, and walked to the street corner. I stood there for maybe a minute, watched carefully by my father some 10 paces behind me, before going back inside, putting everything back, and going to sleep.
As a teenager and young adult I rearrange things in nonsensical ways. If you wake up and find all the forks on the counter, I did it. My favorite room appears to be the kitchen, because I’ll move everything to a place it shouldn’t be. Occasionally I’d wake up naked, or in clothes I hadn’t gone to bed in, so I guess I like dressing too. I’ll also hide things, carefully putting a binder, 5 plates, or cans of cat food in the back of a closet, the freezer (another favorite), or under a pile clean clothes in my dresser. This has made for more than a few very confusing mornings.
I know I still sleepwalk, especially when I would wake up in student housing with things from the kitchen in my room, but I thought I was down to 2 or 3 times a year. Incorrect. Last week I woke up barricaded in my bed. A long row of binders, sweaters, and all my coats boxed me in. Another time all my clean clothes were gone from a drawer of the dresser. I found them in a mound in front of the door. I had a moment of panic when I went into the bathroom at 6am and found the contents of my roommate’s cabinet lined up in the kitchen sink. I franticly put them back. There’s no way it was her, so it was definitely me.
However, I seem to have a new favorite hobby: Moving my roommate’s stuff.
I’d told her before we moved in that I walked around in my sleep, and she said weird, but whatever. I’d roomed with a girl last summer who watched me open and shut the blinds 40 times in the middle of the night, and she’d told the story far and wide. She’d even talked to me.
“Uh, hey Bettina, what are you doing?”
“Opening the blinds.”
“Why are you doing that?”
“I need to open them. I’m busy.”
She realized I was sleeping and watched me like a hawk, assuming I would murder her as soon as I was done with the blinds. I didn’t.
The new roommate doesn’t wake up while I was walking around, she sleeps like the dead, and I’m pretty glad she does.
Last week I woke up after a very confusing dream. I don’t usually dream about real people and real life, if I do it turns into a nightmare. That morning I dreamed that I’d woken up and turned to count my pillows. 1,2,3. Odd. I went to find my roommate who was brushing her teeth. “I have three pillows, I should only have one. I think I took one of yours.” “Oh, that’s fine.” She said.
When I actually woke up I had a strange feeling, and looked behind me to count my pillows. 1, 2, 3. Very odd, as I moved in with only one.
Sure enough, wadded up in my laundry basket was one of my roommates pillowcases, and the fluffy, down laden pillows I’d perched on top of my own were hers. Through careful supposition, she and I recreated the crime.
Bettina, in her sleep, walked once or even twice to her roommate’s room and stole a pillow from her bed while said roommate was sleeping in it. I then removed one of her pillowcases, put it in the laundry basket, and replaced in with one of my own from the hall closet. I then went to sleep, and we both failed to notice the new additions/missing items in our beds for nearly a week.
For an added bonus, Iceland is actually quite warm this time of year, and I’ve been too hot to wear pajamas. So I stole my roommate’s pillows from her bed while she was sleeping in it while naked.
Thank goodness she likes me.