More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Not-so-sweet dreamers share odd bedtime tales
June 15, 2007

Readers throw punches, cook and clean ? all while fast asleep

Sleepwalking? Please. That's for amateurs. Readers, you've smacked your partners, smacked yourselves, binged on junk food and fought off ninjas ? and all the while, you're fast asleep. In response to our Body Odd podcast, we asked you to share the weirdest things you've done in your sleep.

"Every night, I hold my sweet wife as we fall asleep. Her head on my chest, my arm around her neck," writes Ken from Seabrook, Texas. "We start to drift asleep, and then WHAM! I've inadvertently smacked her in the face with a flailing hand."

One reader offers advice for the sleep-smackers' partners. ?Get three body pillows and build a barrier,? writes Jeffrey of Newhall, Calif., the husband of a night slapper. ?Getting a black eye at 2 a.m. is not fun.?

Keep reading for more strange bedtime stories.

While sleeping, I eat large quantities of junk food. I am in no way aware of this until the next time I awake and find wrappers, crumbs, etc. I have also been caught attempting to cook and even clean while completely asleep. The most disturbing facet of this array of problems is that I smoke in my sleep. Countless times I have woken up to a cigarette burning the ends of my fingers. My blanket has multiple burn holes in it as well as the carpet beside my bed. ? Sandy, Waverly, W.Va.

My wife slapped her own hand one night. She had an itch between her legs and scratched it. She then slapped her hand to decline her own advance. I just laughed as I watched it happen. ? Kennedy, Bear, Del.

One of the worst experiences was when I had a dream that I was bowling. I woke up to the sounds of my husband screaming because I dropped a 25-pound dumbbell on his forehead. Safe to say he was not happy with me for a long time. ? A., Albuquerque, N.M.

Smacking my life partner in my sleep is actually a direct result of years of mixed martial arts training. Unfortunately for my partner, he is the unsuspecting ? student of my slumbering self. At 3 am, I'll suddenly be showing him how a real Muay Thai knee to the kidneys is done. Once he turned into an alien with teeth, so I had to try and rip his arm off before he got to me. Then there was the time that I was battling ninjas and he got in the way of my elbow with his jaw. ? He's a pretty brave soul and I'm hoping that my simple solution will work one dark night. In my training, when your opponent ?taps,? you're supposed to let go immediately. So honey, I hope you remember to "tap out.? ? Karen, S.D.

Though I don't smack my husband, I have been known to throw punches at people when they try to wake me up. ? Once I was found walking a block away from home when I was around 8 years old. Scary. ? Mandie, Rugby, N.D.

When my wife and I first got married, I had this re occurring sleep walk where I would be trying to get dressed and sneak out because I didn't know who I was in bed with! One time, I also wrapped up in the bed sheet like a toga and walked into the other room. One time I sat up in bed and said "there is someone in the house!" which of course freaked my wife out, then I laid back down. She finally figured that I was talking in my sleep. ? Henry, Katy, Texas

I bit my boyfriend's arm while having a nightmare, and I drew blood! ? Jeanann, Kenilworth, N.J.

The worst is on an airplane. I now have to sit on my hands if I plan on napping. That started after a flight I was on a few years ago. My arms were unrestrained. A nice woman was sitting quietly next to me. I started to drift to sleep. And then, WHAM! My arm went a-flailing, and I whacked her in the chest. I was so embarrassed, but laughing inside, wondering what this poor woman must have been thinking when she was attacked by my sleeping, flailing arm. ? Ken, Seabrook, Texas

Twice during my marriage I have sat up in bed and smacked my wife without waking up. Talk about trying to explain that the next morning. I've also had sex without waking up, now that sounds bad. ? Anonymous

I have smacked my partner in my sleep but more often I smack myself. Everything is fine and I'm sleeping peacefully until I am awakened by my arm having a hard twitch and my hand coming around and smacking me in the face. My hand is kind of limp when it happens so it?s not like my fist is balled up or anything. Still, it?s a rude awakening. ? Mark, Mobile, Ala.

I have to be on the extreme end of the sleep disorders. I have had episodes where I have got up, dressed myself for school as a 7th grader and walked all the way to school, asleep ... on a Saturday ... at around 6 am. I run around the house, went out a door that was supposed to swing in (that hurt, plus I grabbed the door and threw it through a window), I've jumped down a flight of stairs, threw my wife out of bed, nearly locked myself out of a hotel room (the doors lock automatically when shut), etc. I could go on and on. The catalyst is usually the same, I am either trying to protect myself, or my wife from impending danger in my dream, or being chased by something (snake in the bed, spider, flying ?things?). ? Jeff, North Charleston, S.C.

My husband has done this (62 years old). He is actually fighting in his sleep and shouting and on occasion, I have been awakened when he starts punching and jerking in his sleep. Once in a while, he connects, not enough to hurt me, but enough to startle me out of a sound sleep. I have joked on occasion about wearing a helmet to bed. ? Helen, Phoenix

I've had a problem with sleep walking since I was very young. My poor dad would have to sleep across the top of the stairs so I wouldn't tumble down them during an episode. I've awakened during a couple of these episodes finding myself outside in the dead of night. Not only is this scary but let?s just say I never sleep in the nude! ? K., Los Angeles

I dream of dire battles in which my last chance is to lash out with my feet while flat on my back. I am a ferocious kicker and often wake up with a howl when my flailing foot finds the wall next to the bed. Youch. Have nearly broken a toe or two. ? James, Chatsworth, Calif.

I fell asleep on the bus and smacked the guy next to me. It is a long trip home from work. ? CeeCee, Pa.
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