When Sleepwalking is depicted in TV and film, the usual image you’ll see is of the sufferer shuffling like a zombie, arms aloft and dead to the world. Anyone who knows a real-life sleepwalker will be aware that this is very seldom the case! Sleepwalking can actually take many forms, from fairly harmless wandering to genuinely extreme behaviour.
Sleep walking is most common in children, and most sufferers will eventually grow out of it as they enter puberty. Adult sleep walking is more rare, but far from unheard of. In fact, several well-known faces have gone public about their experiences with the condition.
Chris Colfer (Actor)
Best known for playing the role of Kurt Hummel on hit US TV show Glee, actor Chris Colfer has spoken about how his childhood sleep walking habit recurred when he began touring with his cast mates. He also claims to have a bizarre problem with ‘sleep shopping’ – once ordering a life-size portrait of Marie Antoinette online during a sleep episode.
Sam Torrance (Golfer)
Golfing champion Sam Torrance was forced to pull out of a championship match during the 1993 Ryder Cup, after he suffered a painful accident while sleepwalking at home. The Scottish player bruised his sternum after crashing into a plant pot. Luckily he made a full recovery and went on to place in a number of subsequent championships before becoming a popular commentator for BBC Sport.
Jennifer Aniston (Actor)
Friends star turned Hollywood leading lady Jennifer Aniston once gave then-husband Brad Pitt a major fright when her occasional sleepwalking problem saw her accidentally set off the alarm system at their L.A. home.
David Hempleman-Adams (Explorer)
Adventurer David Hempleman-Adams became the first person to fly to the North Pole in an open balloon in 2000, but his journey nearly met a sticky end when a sleep walking episode saw him attempting to climb out of his basket in mid-air! Fortunately his harness saved him and he came around in time to get back to safety.
Bobby Brown (Musician)
Rapper Bobby Brown – best known for his 90s hits My Prerogative and Two Can Play That Game – was appearing on a US Reality show in 2008 when a sleepwalking incident saw him attempting to urinate on Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. Fortunately, he managed to rouse the former Mr Whitney Houston before things got messy.
If you or somebody you live with suffers from sleepwalking, it’s important to make your environment as safe as possible to prevent the sufferer from accidentally hurting themselves during an episode. The NHS website features advice and support for sleepwalkers and their relatives.