It’s more likely than you might think. Sleepwalking is a fairly common
problem facing millions of people today. The victims of sleepwalking have been
known to do many kooky things, like cook food or clean the house. People with
sleepwalking disorders are often seen as comical, and are commonly made fun of in
cartoons and popular television. Some well-known causes for sleepwalking might
include stress, fatigue, and anxiety. But what scientists don’t want you to know is
the deadly potential that a sleepwalker can harbor.
There are many cases of sleepwalkers killing or injuring immediate family
members, neighbors, friends and other relatives. One girl actually fired a revolver
in her sleep—she was dreaming that burglars had invaded her home. Another man
drove his car fourteen miles to his in-law’s house and attacked them with a knife—
while sound asleep.
There are many horrendous stories of sleepwalking mishaps. The sleepwalkers
in the cases above claimed sleepwalking as their defense and courts seem to
have agreed. In an increasing number of violent crimes, defendants are contending
that they were asleep at the time their crime was committed and are therefore not
accountable for their actions.
A number of famous scientists have weighed in to shed some light on this
dark subject. One, for example, Dr. Clete A. Kushida of the Stanford University
Sleep Disorders Clinic, says, “The courts and the public have to accept that it’s a disease
like any other disease.” An even more famous scientist, Dr. Mark Pressman, of
Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA, reassures us that, “sleepwalkers are not
inherently violent. Sleepwalking violence is quite rare.”
Many psychiatrists and neurologists who specialize in sleep problems insist
that most of the disorders that lead to sleep-related aggressive acts are not a result of
underlying mental illness. Thankfully, researchers have found that the disorders
that lead to sleep-related violence can usually be treated effectively with one or
more medications, including anti-seizure drugs and tranquilizers.
There are a number of safety measures that should be observed if you are
interested in ensuring a safe night’s sleep. First, it would be a good idea to lock the
doors and windows of your bedroom. If you don’t want people accidentally walking
into your room as you’re asleep, it would be smart to invest in a personalized
door alarm, and activate it every night before turning in. Lastly, if you ever see
your sister walking around after bedtime, it might not be a good idea to see what
she’s up to.