-“Doctor…I sleep with only one eye closed—my son sleepwalks.”
Brenda X. is a pleasant lady in her thirties that has been babysitting her son aged seven years since he was three years old because he is a sleepwalker. She is always on the watch because he has frequent bouts of somnambulism and she guards him against any possible harm during his nightly forays.
When I was a little child I often sat up suddenly in bed and walked to the living room of our apartment in Montevideo to sit down and chat, sporting a glazed over look, with my dear father Mario who often escorted me around. He told me that after peaking at 3- 4 years old, this activity started to wane and then suddenly stopped; I never had any recollections of these events.
The sleep walking episodes occur during the initial or Non-REM phase of sleep in the initial third phase of the cycle when slow activity predominates. Sleepwalking is more common in children and its prevalence can reach up to 10% of the population; it can be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait. Patients with sleepwalking have a rise of brief arousals in the EEG tracing.
Sigmund Freud said that the unconscious sexual desires of the “Id” are usually repressed by the “Super Ego” during the waking period but when the conscience dims down, they surface to take control of the person’s volition. Those impulses metamorphose into dreams and in certain cases into motor impulses that can prodd the individual to walk and talk. Sleepwalking has been adduced to be an attenuating factor in many crimes.
Long, long time ago (before I became a monk of Medicine) I went to a New Year’s Eve party in an East Upper side townhouse in New York City… I do remember going to bed in the wee hours with a gorgeous mature brunette…I woke up the next morning in the arms of a red-haired girl in a Brooklyn flat.
What do you want me to say? Mmm…How did I manage to cross the East River in the middle of the night? Still can’t remember…
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.