You don’t have to do have a sleep disorder to do something embarrassing in your sleep. But let’s be honest, talking or wetting the bed while you’re asleep is a lot less funny — not to mention less dangerous — than what these five sleepwalkers got up to.
1. Ate herself silly.
Does midnight snacking count if you’re not actually awake for it? This 51-year-old woman ate in her sleep at least five times per week for about a decade before she decided to seek treatment. How did she know she was bingeing every night? She would wake up to evidence of her nocturnal episodes — wrappers, empty plastic containers, peach pits. Once, she realized she'd ate an entire bottle of ketchup! Her habit frequently got her in trouble with her roommate, whose food was always going missing.
Sleep eating or sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is similar to sleepwalking, though far less common.
2. Got it on with strangers.
Known as sexsomnia, this incredibly rare disorder includes everything from light fondling to intercourse while dead asleep. One middle-aged Australian woman reported leaving her house and having sex with strangers multiple times while sleepwalking. Her husband — who apparently never noticed her leaving, though the behavior continued for several months — became aware of the problem when he found condoms scattered around the house. While other husbands might jump straight to certain obvious conclusions, this couple decided to seek the opinion of a medical professional based on the woman's claim that she had gotten frisky while asleep. Some doctors were wary of the “complexity” of the woman’s behavior, though others claimed it wasn't impossible.
Regardless, less sensational examples of sleep sex prove that the disorder is indeed real.
3. Went for a drive.
Much like sleep eating and sleep sex, it’s not impossible to take the car out for a drive while sleeping. It is, of course, a lot more dangerous. In 2003, after downing an Ambien and falling asleep, one Denver woman got up, chugged a few glasses of wine, and got into her car wearing only her nightshirt in the dead of January. She went on to wreck her car at an intersection, urinate in the middle of the road, and assault police officers when they tried to apprehend her.
According to the FDA, there’s been an increase in sleep driving, and sleep aids such as Ambien are believed to be a factor.
4. Climbed a 130-foot crane.
It took a passerby to notice the body, curled up on the counterweight of a crane in South London, England at two in the morning. The man called for help, and a fireman scaled the crane to find a snoozing 15-year-old girl. The girl was eventually carried down.
This case is admittedly unusual, though a specialist from the London Sleep Center claimed that people are capable of virtually anything they would be capable of while awake, so it’s not impossible.
5. Stepped out a fourth-story window.
This German teenager is what you would call a sound sleeper — after falling four stories, he remained asleep. The 17-year-old had recently moved into a new apartment. According to his sister, who shared the apartment with him, he was a frequent sleepwalker. But this time, he started walking only to climb atop a cardboard box and out the window.
[Image via Shutterstock]