I feel like sleepwalking (along with its no-account brother, narcolepsy) is one of the last medical conditions that people feel totally comfortable making fun of. Nobody at the block party is like, "Hey, did you hear about Ted? He's got impetigo!!!" [Huge laugh.] Because that would be rude. Sleepwalking, though, is fair game. And it is kind of funny—as long as it's, like, zombie underpants dad in the kitchen making a ketchup and Brillo sandwich—but it can also be fairly debilitating.
Sleep-driving is pretty much synonymous with sleep-crashing, sleep-sexing is an easy segue into sleep-raping, and the old sleepytime-nude-walkabout is a lot like sleepytime-exposing-yourself-to-the-neighbor-kids. People uncontrollably sleep-eat themselves into scads of unwanted pounds and disrupt the sleep of their bed partners. Older people can fall down and break themselves. There is an entire Wikipedia page just for "Homicidal sleepwalking." Sleepwalking sucks! I will never sleep again!
And adding to the anti-hilarity, a new study suggests that depression and OCD might be major factors in nighttime wanderings.
People with depression were 3.5 times more likely to sleepwalk and those with obsessive compulsive disorder were four times more likely to rise from bed and wander than people without the disorder. Overall, about 3.1% of those with depression sleepwalk twice a month or more, compared with fewer than 1% of those with no depression. Among those with obsessive compulsive disorder, 7.3% sleepwalk twice a month or more compared with 1% without the disorder.
So maybe let's be a little nicer to sleepwalkers—they're not just wandering around the house with zombie eyes making comical sandwiches, they're also depressed. And Jesus. It must be hard enough to cope with OCD without waking up every morning to a kitchen mysteriously smeared in peanut butter and cold cuts.
Photo credit (C) Ariwasabi / Stockfresh.