When I was at junior school my best mate was an arch exponent of sleepwalking. His mum once found him on his knees scrabbling at the front door, moaning, ‘Food! I must have food!’
I lived with somebody who was a Zen master in somnambulation. I once found her downstairs, in the living room, drinking a cup of tea she’d made, all the while fast asleep. She was a bugger nocturnal peregrinations.
Now opinions are divided on whether you should wake up a sleepwalker, or simply gently lead them back to bed. My ex-wife was firmly of the ‘Wake the f*** up!’ school of thought.
It was the dead of night and I needed to empty my bladder, so I quietly got out of bed and went for a pee. However, although in my sleepwalking mind I was peeing in the toilet, in my now wide-awake wife’s mind I was peeing on the rocking chair in the bedroom. However, here’s the classy bit. I’d lifted the cushion like a lid on a toilet. Now that’s quality behaviour, isn’t it?
Still, at least nobody died as they say. There have been at least a dozen court cases where sleepwalking was used as the defence against a murder rap. The earliest goes back to the 1600s. Yes I did have to Google that.
It’s been a popular theme in film and television too. In the 1920s film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, the eponymous evil doctor controls a sleepwalking murderer. There have been a few other films with homicidal somnambulism as a theme too.
On television it cropped up in an early episode of Perry Mason so I’m reliably informed, and in a 2015 episode of Teen Wolf, a programme of which I was blissfully unaware till I did some fact checking.
Mind you, if Freddie Krueger is on your case, sleepwalking and peeing through a rocking chair are the least of your worries.