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Many people have difficulty falling asleep and suffer from insomnia, but for others, their sleep disturbances may take an entirely different form, such as sleepwalking. Sleepwalking, or somnabulis, is performing activity in sleep in which a person is not aware of. Some people while they are sleep engage in activities like eating, walking or other bizarre things. Sometimes crimes are even committed by sleepwalkers.

Here are a few crazy sleep stories:

Evidence of homicidal sleepwalking has taken place throughout history and many of these cases have been well documented. One of the cases in point is the 1630 case of a sleeper in Paris who swam across the Seine and murdered a man he had planned to kill the next day.  The gentleman did this while sleepwalking.

In the 1846 case of Massachusetts vs Tirrell, a man with a history of sleepwalking, Albert Tirrell, was blamed in a sleepwalking case where he killed a prostitute and later set fire to the brothel. He was tried and acquitted of the crime.

In Fain versus Kentucky in 1876 a man shot a porter trying to wake him in the lobby of a Kentucky hotel. Fain had a history of sleepwalking. He was tried for the crime and was later convicted of manslaughter, but it was reversed on appeal.
In the 1880’s a Frenchman by the name of LeDru who oddly enough was a detective, was asked to investigate the murder of Andre Monet on the beach. He found that he himself had committed the crime while sleepwalking, he was acquitted of the crime, but was instructed by the court to sleep henceforth by himself in a locked room.

Another instance of a strange case is that of William Boshears. Whie he was a serviceman stationed in the UK in 1961, Boshears strangled to death a local woman and later disposed the body in an isolated area, but claimed to have no memory of the event. He stated he had no memory of the circumstances due to sleepwalking. He was tried for the case and acquitted. In 1987 Kenneth Parks, a man troubled with a gambling problem drove to his in-laws home, assaulted his father-in-law and killed his mother-in- law all without waking.
Scott Falater, a native of Phoenix Arizona killed his wife of 20 years Yarmila while sleepwalking. He was charged with beating his wife and holding her head under water. According to the prosecution, Falater also changed his clothes and stored the murder weapon in a Tupperware container. A prosecution expert testified that Falater’s actions were too complex to have been carried out while sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking is caused when the normal sleep cycle is disrupted and the sleeper is stuck between a sleeping and wakeful state. Generally those who commit these crimes have been sleep deprived prior to the commission of the events. In the case of Parks for instance, An EEG showed that his brain woke him between 10 and 20 times per night.

Sleep is important and sleepwalking can be harmful.  If you have a problem with sleepwalking, it will do you well to discuss the matter with a sleep expert.

SLEEP FACTS:

The world record for not sleeping was set by 17-year-old Randy Gardner in 1964 when he was awake for 264 hours and 12 minutes.

Although people born blind don’t see images when they dream, they do have an increased auditory, tactile, and olfactory experience

Somniphobia is the fear of sleep.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 4.32.13 PMIt is my continued desire to share knowledge about all things that help us thrive, flourish, create, maintain and share happiness. I can’t emphasize enough what a good night of restorative sleep does for our bodies, minds and emotions. In my experience as health and wellness editor at Sleep and Wellness Magazine I have been called upon to weave a user-friendly true story about the nature of our inner garden and the impact of “sleep-fulness” and sleeplessness upon our overall health and wellbeing. Modern life has made many aspects of the daily routine easier and at the same time, added volumes of stress that make the simple pleasures, such as a great sleep, somewhat illusive. When we learn to slow down and “be” with life, in life and immersed with presence and attention wonderful things can happen. Enjoy this series on the Magic of Sleep!

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