Hearing loud booms. Walking. Binge eating. Temporary paralysis. Teeth grinding. These are just a few of the bizarre things some experience when in a subconscious state.
Then there’s “sexsomnia.” As detailed in a recent Star story, sexsomniacs engage in sex while they are asleep. (While more research is needed, the joint presence of “sex” and “sleep” suggests new parents are not at risk.)
But there are other, less exotic sleep disorders. And for whatever reason, these tend to affect married or cohabitating women.
Gentlemen, here are five to watch for and suggestions on how to cope:
Disorder No. 1: Feathery Kleptomania
That’s weird. When you fell asleep, your head was on a pillow. But now it’s 2 a.m. and your head is on the sheet and your pillow is trapped between your spouse’s legs as if she’s on a plane and the pilot just said, “Prepare for an emergency landing.” Trying to free your pillow with gentle tugging is useless. Her thighs have turned into the jaws of a pit bull. Tickling her is also not advised, since this will only spark an angry, “Stop waking me up!” Sleep on your forearm. Your pillow is gone.
Disorder No. 2: Sleeping Smartphone Syndrome
It’s 3 a.m. Your partner is snoring. Her eyes are closed. But, incredibly, she is now fumbling for her BlackBerry or iPhone perched in the nightstand charger. She cradles the phone and brings it closer. The screen is now glowing, as is her face. Although you’re terrified, when your partner suffers from Sleeping Smartphone Syndrome, just make soothing Internet sounds until she eventually drops the gadget on your forehead and mumbles something about Facebook.
Disorder No. 3: Heat Seeking Cold Flailing
When your partner is sleeping, control of her body can shift from the brain directly to her hands and feet. For many women, sleep also coincides with an inexplicable drop in core temperature, from 37 degrees to roughly minus 162. Thus, your partner’s extremities, now icy and operating with a mind of their own, are drawn like heat-seeking missiles to your exposed skin. Have you ever had the nightmare in which anevil scientist is rubbing liquid nitrogen on your shoulder? That was no nightmare. That was her nose. Advice: Wear full pyjamas and try not to panic when she grabs your ears.
Disorder No. 4: Random Laughing
Your partner’s giggle is the sweetest sound in the world. It’s like a sonic flower amid the concrete cacophony of humdrum existence. At least, it is when you’re both awake and there is context. But at 1 a.m., when she’s dead asleep, her muffled ha-has are mostly disconcerting. What is she laughing about? Nothing particularly funny happened this evening. Let’s see, you grilled chicken for the family and showed her the new skinny jeans you just purchased and oh sweet mother of God. She said they looked great! But now she’s cackling in her sleep. It’s best just to ignore random laughing, especially if it follows sexsomnia.
Disorder No. 5: Groggy Security Checks
Even in a deep sleep, a woman’s mind never stops working. This is why your spouse may suddenly bolt upright in the wee hours to emit a haze of groggy queries: “Did you remember to lock the door? Did you check the stove? Did you remember to park the Mercedes in the garage?” The strange thing is you don’t have a Mercedes or garage. No matter. Just answer “yes” to everything. Soon the inquisition will end and you’ll have plenty of time to get comfortable on your forearm.