Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
S is for…
somnambulism – an abnormal condition of sleep in which motor acts (such as walking) are performed. First known usage 1797.
Sleepwalking is a disorder of arousal, meaning it occurs during N3 sleep, the deepest stage of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
I think most people are more aware of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is associated with dreaming and memory consolidation. But sleepwalking occurs during non-REM sleep, often earlier in the night. It’s experienced more often by children and often outgrown by adolescence. That was true for me – I was a sleepwalker as a child and I outgrew it.
I know a lot about sleep, besides my experiences as a somnambulist. I came to it sort of from a backdoor entrance – I’ve been interested in dreams since I was a child. I have always been a prolific dreamer, have always been fascinated by them, and have recorded my dreams since adolescence. My interest is so great I actually considered doing my Masters degree work on lucid dreaming, although eventually I moved in another direction.
I take great delight in my sleeping mind’s theater, and since I record my dreams, I always make a point to title my nighttime adventures. Bonus points, because I have the added amusement of seeing what kind of dada-esque poem is created when I list out the titles. For example, here are just a few of my recent nocturnal engagements:
- Not the Proper Place to Leave the Ladder
- Mailbox Haul includes Polish Man’s Suit
- What Crazy Thing Did I Ask For?
- Orange & Green Feathers on my Legs
- Hidden Room & Demanding Guests with Raisins on a String
- Busted as Incompetent Spies
- Strange Eggs
- Uniform Prototypes and Surgically Removed Eyebrows
- Awkward Nudist
- Outing the Bagel Eater
Now tell me, does that make you wish you had access to my brain, or are you ready to back away gingerly?
In case you’re undecided, let me share a recent dream snippet.
I may have been overly influenced by thinking about birthday celebrations and reading Greek mythology but I had a perfectly marvelous fun time at:
Pandora’s Pinata Parade
As Empress, it was my job to create a parade in celebration of all things wonderful in the world. (Ah, I like a good dream wherein my Empress qualifications are recognized!) So I created my version of a Trojan Horse – a gigantic pinata filled with all manner of wonderful things that would come popping out at parade time. And as Pandora has been, in my mind, scapegoated for far too long with responsibility for releasing all the evils on Earth, I wanted to do my part to lift her spirits and change the story. Therefore, I put her in charge of opening the trap door on the pinata at the right moment and releasing all the wonderfulness amidst much delight and cheering from the crowd. I especially liked the shooting stars that erupted, leaving behind as they ascended, little trails of chocolate stars for us all to eat. And then there were the tiny seashells that you put in water and out popped gorgeous little flowers; library cards for everyone with unlimited priviledges; and little knitted balls for tossing that turned out to be rolled up socks in delightfully wild patterns. There was much singing and laughing, and when people danced they found they had strings of bells on their ankles. The whole affair was quite a happy success.
Now what about you? Every had a sleepwalking experience? Remember your dreams? Wished on a star? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
To my knowledge I’ve never been a sleep walker. Too much physical effort I suppose. I sometimes remember my dreams, not the specifics as much as how I felt during them. I wish on stars, of course. I need all the help I can get in this life!
I’ve never had one but my younger daughter had a few. Night terrors too, which are…terrifying. I love the dreams where I’m running to escape something and then jump in the air and can fly. No interpretation needed there, eh?
I love the magic flying escape dreams as well Margaret. Also I often have a fabulous red sports car waiting in exactly the right spot, and I just happen to be holding the keys to. Grin-inducing every time!
I don’t, or can’t remember my dreams but our son did sleepwalk for a while. Happy Friday.
The only real important thing about sleep is that we get enough. 🙂
I remember some when I first wake up, and mean to remember them longer. Then I forget! I do have a series I remember, because they’re odd to me. I don’t mean a series like dreams in a row, since they can be months apart. I dream I am on vacation, in a tropical place, with a beach, even if I never go to the beach. Not ever the same place. It’s not the day before I leave, but the day before that. It is specifically the day BEFORE the last day! I wake up and think, “There was another one of those dreams.”
I don’t sleep walk.
My daughter used to talk in her sleep. Maybe she still does, but I don’t know it anymore! She is also one of those who say really odd things coming out of anesthesia!
Ah yes, Lisa – I think all of us have at least one dream that could be considered a recurring theme as you’ve mentioned. It’s curious isn’t it? As you might expect, I’m fascinated by sleep talking as well. Amanada Parker has a fabulous recording of her husband writer Neil Gaiman sleep talking. She recorded it on her phone, promptly forgot it, and then rediscovered it a couple years later. It’s truly delightful.
The Trojan Pinata ~ I love it!
Apparently I was an occasional sleepwalker as a child. My mother tells a story of when I was about 6 years old, her waking to the sound of my footsteps going down the stairs (we lived in a 2-story 1800s house with a full story attic and full basement) and by the time she caught up with me, I had walked through the lower level to the other side of the house and was moving quickly down the basement stairs. I have no recollection of the event but apparently gave my mom a wide-asleep explanation of what I was doing at the time.
LOL – I can so relate to your wide-asleep explanation. I was notorious for the wacky things I’d say when questioned.
My first reaction to the post was – Aha, i know that word… i dream almost every night and more often than not , I remember the details to a great extent… i hate the nightmare parts though… green and orange feathers on your legs ?? Interesting 🙂
I’m happy to skip the nightmares as well. But other dreams – such wonderful entertainment every night of our lives. I laughed at my feathered legs, too.
Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love your words more, you pull out a pinata on me and I go delirious with joy.
OMG!! This post needs a few more visits.
This “sleeping mind’s theater” may be the seed for a future poem (I will keep you posted if that happens.)
Your Dada-esq dream titles have turned me into your roadie–I shall follow thee:)
The empress qualifications—we have that in common too:) And lightning Pandora’s load–wow!
Too much to say, so will say the best thing to say–Thank you for writing this gem.
Your dream titles sound interesting. One can only speculate what causes us to dream up the weirdest things, right?
I’m not a great sleeper, and when I finally fall asleep, I can rarely remember my dreams. The ones I manage to recall are usually special to me and stick in my memory for a really long time. I had an encounter with a wolf in my dream. It was probably some 20 – 25 years ago, but I can recount every step.
Some dreams really do feel special and worthy of permanent filing in our brains. Your wolf dream sounds amazing!
I love the titles of your dreams, and it sounds like a great party!
I only occasionally record my dreams. I just haven’t gotten into the habit, so often I think I’ll write them down, but then I don’t do it right away and later I’ve forgotten too much. Oh well; easy come, easy go!
S is for Sentience
LOL – easy come, easy go indeed!