15 November 2005

The Princess & The Pea

Well, Ellen's post started me thinking about sleep habits: the good, the bad, and the weird.

I would fall under the weird category. As my husband, family, and past roommates can attest, I have some very odd sleep habits. Namely, hypnagogic hallucinations. For a long time, I thought that I was just crazy, and then I had a professor in college who specialized in sleep-related disorders. After taking half the semester to work up the nerve to go into her office and ask about it, I found out that I wasn't crazy, probably just chronically sleep-deprived. Basically, if I go a certain amount of time without enough REM (dream) sleep, my body goes, "WHOAAA! Just who do you think you are, Karen? I will tell YOU when REM sleep is needed." And then my brain triggers the rapid eye movements before my body is in a deep sleep state. So what happens? I open up my eyes and see a gigantic spider on my hand and act accordingly: jumping up, turning on the light, and yelling at my (very bewildered) husband. (This exact thing happened two nights ago).

It was scary hearing that prof describe my symptoms perfectly. I actually have it easy--a lot of people see mostly human intruders in their HHs. I've only had that happen once or twice.

I've seen it all...some of my favorites: a spinning coke bottle cap (not so much scary as fascinating for a full 2 minutes), my sister's cat perched on the top of the door, more rodents and snakes than I care to remember (and one occurence resulting in my knee split open and a resolution to never again sleep on a bunk bed). The first one I remember was a wrought iron chair dangling precariously above my bed. My parents must have thought I was insane when I ran into their room to describe said wrought iron chair in the middle of the night. I went through a short time when most of my hallucinations were auditory, sounded like a train going through my room, but I thankfully have not had one of those in a few years.

And Bill found out the hard way that arguing with me about the HHs was the WRONG method of dealing with me in that particular state. He has also learned to trust me when I say that I am not to sleep with any scissors or other sharp instruments next to the bed.

To my defense, I once woke up with a cricket in my mouth. That one wasn't a hallucination. An actual cricket. In my mouth.

So...what are your sleep quirks?


melissa jones said...

i sleep with the heel of one foot between the big toe and second toe of the other foot; it's as if one foot is holding on to the other. I must have developed the habit in the womb, because my toes were crossed when I was born.

no halucinations, though I have had that awake-but-paralized feeling a couple of times. it wasn't pleasant

Karen said...

now that is an interesting habit.

i used to have a roommate that liked to interlace her finger with her toes in a cross-legged position and study that way.

i don't do well with things between my toes.

Superchikk said...

That sounds exactly like my Mom! I can't believe there's a name for it! Dad still teases her about the "little green men" she saw in the closet floor 20 years ago. Plus, it made for interesting times in HS when she would flip out and actually run to the back door and accuse us of making noise in the backyard...while we were watching Leno.

I just don't like to be touched when I'm going to sleep. Snuggle, cuddle, etc. until sleepy time, then, Husband better keep his mitts off. And I sleep on my left side almost exclusively. Rarely ever wake up in a different position. I can go to bed, sleep all night, then slide out of the bed in the morning and the bed hardly looks as if it had been slept in. Weird, I know.

Karen said...

i read somewhere that the best position to sleep in (in terms of least stress to your body) is on your back, then your right side, then left side, then your stomach. i've always been a side-sleeper, but after that article, i started falling asleep on my back (great, except that sometimes i wake MYSELF up snoring), and i can't sleep on my left side because i picture my heart being smooshed.

Shelli said...

Oh...you KNOW mine. SNORING! I have sleep apnia. I get my machine soon. Woo hoo!

Hillary said...

I'm horrible for falling asleep on the couch. I've done it so often that I'll sleep through the night like that. But watch out if I fall asleep too early. I guess my body is used to having about 6 hours of sleep, cause I'll wake up after 6 hours, no matter what time I fell asleep.

For example, I fell asleep shortly after Survivor last night (about 9:30) and woke up jsut before 3am. Here I am, it's 5:09am, and I'm wide awake. Not awake enough to actually do anything useful, like for on the report cards that are due today and I'm nowhere near finished, but awake enough so that I can't sleep.


I think I'm so used to not enough sleep that I'd be amazed to find out how well I could actually function if I got proper sleep. I keep thinking I'm fine. Kinda like the kid who doesn't know how bad his vision really is untill he gets glasses and can actually SEE for once.

Hillary said...

um, that should be "WORK on the report cards," not "for on the report cards."

Apparently I'm not awake enough to type properly, either. ;-)