Tag Archives: sleep disorders

October 2016 column Michiana House & Home Magazine: Wide Awake in Dreamland

sleepwalking        Everyone has his or her own unique was of dealing with stress. Some people are emotional eaters. Some go for a long run or walk while others swear by the concept of “retail therapy,” but I am a bit unconventional…I sleepwalk.

I’m not really sure when my nighttime jaunts began, but I know I didn’t do it as a child. That was my brother’s department. I vividly remember the night in which he padded down the hall and wandered into the kitchen in order to throw his pillow in the trashcan. On another occasion, he removed the drawers from his dresser and stacked them on his desk in a configuration that can only be described as “modern art.” There was also the time that he got up at 1 a.m. thinking it was time to deliver his afternoon paper route. He nearly made it out the back door before my dad caught him and put him back to bed.

When I sleepwalk, it’s just as scary. I am incapable of navigating the layout of my own home. I see people who aren’t there. I try to unlock doors that don’t exist and in my most recent escapade, I stood over my son’s bed and stared down as him as though he were lying in a casket.

“If your planning to audition for the next Paranormal Activity movie, I think you’ll get the part,” he told me the following morning.

“What are you talking about?” I asked him.

Evidently, I got out of bed to visit the bathroom, but for reasons unknown, I chose his facilities rather than my own. This required me to jump over the dog gate at my bedroom door. According to Boy Wonder, when I finished my business, I didn’t go back to bed but rather, took a tour of the entire second floor of my house. I went into my office and sat in my chair for a while. I wandered across the hall to the spare bedroom and for a grand finale; I entered his bedroom and spun around before paying my respects at his supine body.

“Seriously, I don’t know how you did any of that in the dark without killing yourself in the process.” He said as he concluded his tale. “It was really impressive. Frightening, but impressive.”

While I would love to tell you that the story has been wildly exaggerated for dramatic purposes, I know he’s telling the truth. I have a vague memory of needing to use the bathroom and then being in his room…I’m just glad I didn’t confuse the latter with the former. That would not have ended well.

“Oh no, you made it into the bathroom just fine,” he assured me. “As for everything else, I don’t know what you were doing. You just kept saying you were looking for something.”

“Did I tell you what I was looking for?” I asked.

“Yeah…you said you needed to find a pillow.”

I should have checked the trashcan.

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Tingle Tuesday: A “Lucid” Realization

Lucid Dreams        When I first “discovered” the ASMR community, I was amazed to learn that there were so many people in this world who all experienced the same feeling I did…but who all thought that they were unique somehow. See, over the years I have suffered from a number of issues, but being unique is not one of them. I have to be the only Tingle Head out there who honestly thought that everyone probably did this, just no one was talking about it. As I began researching this book, I was convinced that I was going to stumble upon some research somewhere that would call ASMR something completely different and explain the whole thing once and for all.

Who knew? Turns out I am on the cutting edge of something for once in my life! LOL

However, I have come across something that I do experience and that has come as a complete shock to me. The Lucid Dream experience. Basically, the lucid dream is a dream that you are aware of and, in some cases, can control. Prior to learning about this phenomenon (and its connection to ASMR) I thought that my ability to control some of my dreams was a super power left over from my days as a Wonder Twin (long story…but trust me). My family were impressed when I would tell them that I riddled out an answer to some crazy problem in my sleep or had encounters with dead relatives in which they explained things that I needed to know. The running joke around here is that I need to dream of numbers so that we can play them and win the lottery. Sadly…I don’t dream in math.

A lot of my recent lucid dreams have to do with my mother. My mom died 6 years ago and as you can imagine, this was devastating to me. A few months after her passing, I was driving her van when it began to rain and it suddenly occurred to me that I did not know how to operate the windshield washers on the vehicle. I tried everything that I did on my other car, but to no avail. I went to sleep that night and during my dreams, I was riding in the car with my mom when she made the car do the very thing that I couldn’t figure out.

“Hey, how did you do that?” I asked.

She looked amused. “You mean I never showed you that?”

“No!” I replied.

While I didn’t see exactly what she did, I saw where she moved her hand and the next day while taking my son to school. I reached around and found the mechanism that operated this feature.

“Hey, how did you do that?” he asked.

“Do what?” I asked, knowing full well what he meant.

“Make the windshield washers work,” he said.

I shrugged. “Oh that….well, grandma showed me what to do last night.”

The boy looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Um Mom…grandma died.”

“Yes, I know that,” I told him.

“So how could she show you anything?”

I shrugged again and turned on the turn signal. “She did it in a dream I had last night and I asked her about it.”

While I would like to believe that what I experienced was something “transcendent,” all evidence suggests that it was a lucid dream, one in which I was able to kick around my problem, infuse the person who bequeathed me the car, and find the answer. I seem to know when I am dreaming more than a lot of people. I am aware that I dream in color. I have been known to stop nightmares in their track and I have had conversations with my parents that have resulted in a very real physical feeling when I wake up. I can’t figure out if I am excited by this discovery…or a little bummed out.

That’s one of the problems with research. Sometimes you find out things that you would rather not know and in the course of piecing this all together, the things I thought were unique are fairly normal and the things that I thought that were normal are actually kind of unusual.

So the question becomes…how many of you are lucid dreamers and what are some of your more unusual experiences with this phenomenon?


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