Monday, July 20, 2009

Is there a clinical term for naked sleepwalking?

I have a long history of sleep issues. Even before I developed chronic insomnia at the age of 27 or so (coinciding with the onset of clinical depression), I had a sporadic history of sleep-walking.

I don't know if it happened before I was in my teens, but in high school, I went on a trip with a couple of (male) friends of mine in India. We were staying in a dive of a hotel on the east coast of India (Bhubaneswar, to be exact), but only one of the beds had a mosquito net. So the three of us slept across-ways on a queen-size bed so that we could all be under the net.

It was all perfectly platonic and innocent. The three of us were good friends who enjoyed each others' company, but nothing more. We went out for a yummy dinner, had a few beers, and then went to sleep.

But then I woke up in the early morning feeling very strange. And after mentally taking stock of the situation, I realized that the reason I felt so strange is that I was naked from the waste down.

And I had no recollection of how I got that way.

So I scooted down to the end of the bed, scurried over to my bag, and found my undies neatly folded on top of my stuff. I put them on, slunk back to the bed, and went back to sleep.

I spent the entire next day in a state of mortification. I could barely look either of the guys in the eye, and felt weird and embarrassed and awkward. Had I fooled around with one of them without even realizing it? With the other one right there?? It was too horrifying to contemplate.

Finally, that afternoon, Chris said, "Wendy, are you OK?"


"Because you've been acting a little weird all day."


"And I thought it might have had something to do with the fact that when I got up to pee in the middle of the night, I was looking at your bare ass."

"Yeah, uh... I don't know how that happened. I don't remember anything."

"I thought you might have been hooking up with Dan."

And Dan said, "I wasn't hooking up with her. I saw her get up in the middle of the night and take off her underwear and thought she was hooking up with you!"

"I wasn't hooking up with anyone!! All I remember is going to bed and then I woke up with no pants on!!"

So as far as the three of us could discern, we had gone to sleep, and at one point I got up, went to pee, walked over to my suitcase, took off my underwear, folded them neatly and placed them carefully on top of my stuff, and went back to sleep.

My first year in college, I lived in a suite of rooms off a common area. My room was all the way down on one end of the suite. And one night, I went to sleep in my bed, wearing pajamas, but woke up the next morning completely naked in the bed of one of my suite-mates. Whose room was on the opposite end of the suite from mine.

Luckily, her roommate was out of town and she was spending the night at her boyfriend's. But to get from her room to mine, I would have had to walk through the common area, past a huge wall of picture windows that faced the hallway connecting the suites to each other. And the lights in the common room were always, always on. So basically, as far as I could tell, I had walked, completely naked, through a lighted room that everyone in the dorm could see into. And I didn't remember anything about it.

I had a couple of other sleepwalking episodes throughout college and law school, some naked, some not. Now it seems to have downgraded to sleep-talking, usually when someone calls me after I've gone to bed, and I'll have entire, lucid conversations with them without actually waking up.

That kind of happened this past weekend. Michele was in town visiting, and she and Kathleen and I went up to Vail for a little get-away. We walked around Vail Village and then had a lovely, leisurely, delicious dinner. By 10:30, however, I was feeling like I needed to lie down, so we went back to the hotel and Michele tucked me in. Then she and Kathleen went out to have a few drinks.

They came back at around 1:45 in the morning, and the three of us proceeded to have an almost hour long conversation about all kinds of things, including sexual histories, old boyfriends, funny life stories, you name it.

And I have virtually no recollection of it.

But I'm learning to appreciate the little things in life. At least it was just talking.

At least I wasn't parading around Vail, naked and pregnant.


  1. OH MY GOD! I needed that laugh after a very testy conversation with someone at my bank. Thank you!

    PS I have sleep issues too..when younger I'd often wake up in another room from where I went to sleep (although clothed). I have also had night terrors my entire life. So much fun for the man lucky enough to be sleeping with me!

  2. HA! You have a great attitude about it all. And it seems like even in deep sleep, you are neat and tidy, folding up your undies and all.

    By the way, I read about the GD. When I was pregnant with Walt, I failed the first GD test but passed the 2nd one. My best friend, who's a nutjob about these things, scared me into doing the GD diet for the rest of my pregnancy. And yeah, it's basically SBeach. Good luck with it all. You're almost at the finish line!

  3. Suz -- night terrors must be awful. I have anxiety dreams, but true nightmares are rare.

    Anne -- the neatness was totally an aberration. I am the messiest person I know.

  4. Anonymous3:11 PM

    More stories about being naked on girl's night trips, please. Videos would be appreciated.

    Da Schwabber