We think of sleep as a time for rest, a treasured time of the day when we can rest away from the world or as a time for the body to recharge itself. And we’re supposed to come out healthier, feeling better and more alive from each successful night of sleep. But for some people, getting a good night’s sleep can end in tragedy, crime, or even death.
Carlos Schenck is the professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He has recorded and cataloged many bizarre sleep stories from around the world. “You don’t have to extrapolate very far to connect what we see on a routine clinical basis weekly. To saying that if this went a little bit further, this could easily have resulted in violent or injurious behavior,” according to Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
During sleep-walking episodes, brain-waves neither show full-sleep nor full wakefulness, according to Schnenck. People acting from sleep disorders are usually in a state of slow-wave consciousness. One part of the brain is awake while the other part is asleep. They don’t feel pain. And they’re judgement is usually non-functioning. But they can complete complex motor behaviors.
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Researchers from the University of Toledo say a woman rose from a slow-wave sleep. With little consciousness, she logged into her computer, emailing party invitations to friends. They call it “ZZZ-mailing,” and it’s the only case reported of its kind. The woman fell asleep around 10 p.m. Two hours later, she composed a total of three emails. One read, “Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out. Dinner and drinks, 4 p.m. Bring wine and caviar only.” Another email said, “What the…”.
She had no history of sleepwalking as a child. She was understandably shocked the next morning when her friend called, accepting her invitation. Sleepwalkers often have little to no memory of what they did the morning after. Their consciousness is in an altered state. But they can still do complex tasks. Researchers say prescription medications could have been the cause of her “Zzz-mailing.”