|Pray this never happens to you|
For one rather scary period of my life, sleep also potentially meant something else: sleepwalking. I was reminded of this today when the office started discussing 'stupid things you've done when drunk.' To be fair to me, I did discover that the alcohol wasn't what was causing the sleepwalking at all, although it was the first thing that crossed my mind.
If you go and tell the doctor that you've suddenly started sleepwalking, they take you very seriously. Did you know that sudden onset sleepwalking can be a sign of epilepsy? Neither did I. But the tests proved negative. Turns out it's also your brain's reaction to incredibly stressful situations. It basically 'forgets' to press the off-switch on your body whilst you sleep, which means that all the usual experiences that you might have when in REM sleep are no longer only in your head, but being lived out, quite literally, by your body.
I had some pretty upsettng health problems at the time, and my lovely little brain just couldn't deal with it all. Sleepwalking incidents inlcuded waking up on friends' landings, on their stairs, or in their kitchens. But I kept the best for a trip overseas.
During a work Christmas party in Dublin, my work colleagues found me sleepwalking through the hotel, just as I was about to reach the lobby, two steps from the front door to the street. The stuff that nightmares are made of. And it gets worse. I was completely naked. No, really.
I'm sure that some of my lovely friends who were on the trip are reading this: you know who you are. Thank you for rescuing me, wrapping me in a coat, getting me another key to the hotel room, and putting me back to bed. Thanks also for bearing with me whilst I sorted myself out and the sleepwalking stopped. This story has gone down in the annals of history, as it is, of course, hilarious. I'd probably find it funnier if it hadn't happened to me, but someone else entirely! For the longest time I couldn't stay in a hotel without barricading myself in, just in case it reared its head again. It hasn't, for over ten years. Insh'allah, this shall remain the status quo.