By Kimberly Clark, Science Tuesday Editor
What did you do last night? I’m not talking about what you may or may not have done while you were out with your friends. I’m talking about while you were sleeping. People will dream, talk and snore, and a select few may even wet the bed. But for the most part, many think a person’s sleeping time is relatively uneventful. However, it turns out that people can do a lot more while sleeping than you might think.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleepwalking is a behavioral disorder that occurs during a state of deep sleep which involves walking and performing complex acts while still asleep. Sleepwalking occurs in approximately 1-15 percent of the population and is more common among children. However, factors like sleep deprivation, alcohol, febrile illnesses and certain medications can induce the disorder. The known actions of sleepwalkers range from sitting up in bed to walking around their house to driving long distances.
This disorder, which is self-explanatory by name, is also known as nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NS-RED). It often occurs while a person is sleepwalking. People with NS-RED have been known to go into their kitchens, prepare food and consume it while completely asleep. It is estimated that approximately 1-3 percent have sleep-eating disorders but they are more common among women.
“Sleepsex,” also known as “sexsomnia,” refers collectively to the 11 known sex-related sleep disorders. People suffering from these disorders will engage in sexual activity while asleep. For example, a study found that men, although women can do this as well, will begin to masturbate while asleep and then initiate sex with a partner. They do not have any memory of the incident once they wake up. According to researchers, people with other sleep disorders, such as sleep terrors, which are intense episodes of fear during sleep, or sleepwalking, are at risk for developing sex-related sleep disorders.