Sleep: Your stories of weird sleep behaviour

Man holding a light bulb

A recent article on the weird things people do in their sleep prompted many emails from readers about the odd things they have done.

Specialist sleep clinics are treating more people with sleep disorders than ever before. They are also dealing with some strange new sleep behaviour, while other rather odd sleep disorders are becoming more common.

Here are some of the weird things you do in your sleep.

Josh Bliszko, Milton Keynes: I have a history of doing activities in my sleep ranging from eating to rummaging through the bottom of my wardrobe. My latest trick is changing light bulbs. And no, the light bulbs don't even require changing.

Nichola Collinge Nichola Collinge

Nichola Collinge, Towyn, Wales: I have been known to cook a quiche from scratch and strip a chicken down to its bones in my sleep. Waking up to empty loaf bags and chocolate wrappers is also quite common. I also like to go walking around my house and garden while talking about all the things I'm seeing as I'm dreaming. I thought I was going crazy until my partner regaled me with my nocturnal tales.

James, Bath: My wife watched me walk out of the house, get into my car and drive off. I returned 15 minutes later. It only happens occasionally and one particular time I got in the car and returned over an hour later. Having filled the car the previous day, I was able to calculate the mileage from the reset milometer. I had driven 35 miles. Nowadays my wife hides our car keys each night, I go for walks.

Peter Ramm, Stockport: I have done many strange things. I have woken up in the middle of the garden in the middle of the night sitting at the garden table. I was totally naked with cigar in one hand and cup of tea in the other. I have woken up inside the wardrobe in a hotel dreaming that I had gone blind. It was, of course, pitch black inside the wardrobe. I once came to in a hotel tidying my hair in my room mirror. I then realised that I was stark naked and the mirror was in fact a window at the end of a corridor on a different floor from where I was sleeping.

What happens if you don't sleep?

A couple in bed
  • Poor sleep can damage mood, concentration, energy and even relationships
  • Try avoiding things that make it hard to sleep such as too warm a bedroom
  • Creating a personal sleep profile can help you manage your body clock effectively

Sources: Mental Health Foundation and BBC Science

Rob Knight, London: I sleep eat - biscuits, chocolate, sweets, never anything healthy. My wife woke once in the middle of the night to find me tearing strips from a magazine and eating them. She told me I was eating paper. I replied that I knew I was and then got back into bed. I had no recollection at all. When I was attempting to lose weight I ensured that there were no sweets or biscuits in the house. I awoke one morning complaining of a soapy taste in my mouth, but my wife could shed no light on it. Some days later I went to get a fresh bar of soap from a drawer in the bathroom and found a fresh bar, neatly unwrapped, with a large chunk bitten from the corner. Again, no recollection.

Patricia Porter, Callac, France: I have gone online and bought inappropriate dog equipment for my elderly Jack Russell terrier - two large size collars and a complete training course of slalom sticks, tunnel etc. My only clue to the fact that I had purchased anything was finding my purse and credit card beside the computer, not in their usual place. Subsequently, the arrival of the parcels from America was a complete surprise. Even more surprising was a phone call from a kennels about a puppy which I did not want but had ordered in a letter written in French and emailed in the middle of the night. My most disconcerting repeated actions have been writing letters which look OK but have bizarre and inexplicable content.

Jay Hanna, Ballymoney, Northern Ireland: I woke up one morning to an irate wife saying, "Come see what you did last night." She took me to the kitchen, opened a cupboard door and every cup and glass - 20 plus - had been filled to the brim. Not one glass or cup could have held a drop more of water and there was no spillage anywhere. Couldn't have done it when I was awake.

Lee, Nazeing Land, Essex: My biggest issue is sleeping whilst clapping. I noticed it five years ago when I was on the train. Commuters pointed out that I had provided a nice steady beat to which they could hum along and all be jolly whilst on their journey to work. Since then I have noticed an increase in tempo and I often wake up with hands the size of frying pans due to excessive clap. It humours my girlfriend who is a light sleeper. She has even bought me a pair of oven gloves to wear in bed.

Sarah Portsmouth, Llandovery, Wales: My husband has giggling fits in his sleep. I am woken up when the bed starts to shake. He giggles and giggles, shaking at the same time. If I wake him he has no recollection of what he was giggling at but has a vague sense of discovering the funniest thing ever.

Justin Worden Justin Worden

Justin Worden, East Molesey, Surrey: As a teenager I used to sleep walk. On the worst occasion I was found stark naked singing "follow the yellow brick road" while walking down the street to the local newsagents at 3.30am. Luckily the sleep walking stopped in my mid-20s. I do, however, claw at my head whilst I'm asleep. On a bad night it looks like I've been attacked by an Owl. This is far easier to live with than naked musical re-enactment.

Lee Savidge, Oxfordshire: I swept my front lawn in the nude one night. I woke up thinking that I'd had a strange dream. On coming down for breakfast, I noticed I had dirty feet which I found odd. I know I was naked because I went to sleep that way and woke up that way and my clothes were in the laundry where I'd left them before bed. It was late November 2010 and very cold, although I don't remember it other than as a dream. Thankfully my neighbours didn't see or they're being polite and not mentioning it. It would have been about 2am to 3am in the morning.

John Barnett John Barnett

John Barnett, Teynham, Kent: Three weeks ago, I awoke to discover I was performing a headstand on the bed in my sleep. As I realised what I was doing, I overbalanced and fell against a large wedding collage which sits on the shelf above our bed. This fell off and landed on top of me and my wife, smashing the glass.

Barry Cunningham, Callander, Scotland: Just about every night I will get up during the night between three and five times and eat up to five chocolate bars or whatever else is there, and drink at least one to five litres of juice. It has only started happening over the last year.

Tina Carter, Chatham, Kent: I regularly sleep walk. I've woken up on the stairs clinging on for dear life, in the lounge sat on the sofa holding the TV remote - but TV is off - in the kitchen with a mouth full of food, in an empty bath fully clothed. I feel exhausted 90% of the time and blame the fact that my sleep appears to be so restless.

Debbie Pett Debbie Pett

Debbie Pett, Farnham, Surrey: I regularly empty my fridge and move all the food to a different location in my house, normally just next to my bed. I have also been known to empty my wardrobe and my airing cupboard. On one occasion, I emptied my wardrobe and when I woke up in the morning my nightdress was inside out so I guess I had probably been trying on my clothes in my sleep.

Lorraine, Bournemouth, Dorset: I have been told by my boyfriend that I speak Latin in my sleep. I guess this is probably down my classical education, but it's still a bit weird. I've been known to recite The Lord's prayer in Latin in my sleep too.

Blake, UK: I sleep play video games and, surprisingly, I sometimes win.

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