Sleepwork for a Living

Today’s post comes from idea man and deal maker Spin Williams.

Great news on the wires today! Researchers started to wonder about sleepwalking. Who knows why? Lying awake, I guess. But they decided to ask people if they’ve ever sleepwalked, and the results were a surprise.

Almost one third of those responding said they had! That’s amazing. How did they know? I thought the whole point of sleepwalking was lack of awareness at the time and a total absence of recollection afterwards.

If you go for a moonlight stroll and remember it, that’s just walking!

And they neglected to ask if any of the 16,000 people they called were sleepwalking AT THAT MOMENT! That’s the FIRST question I’d ask, but then I’m not a scientist. So let’s assume the REAL number of sleepwalkers is MUCH larger than this survey indicates. How much larger could it be? I don’t know! But then, I’m not very alert right now. I think my brain is only half switched on. I might be sleep WRITING.

Egads! What if EVERYBODY sleepwalks! And if they do, what if EVERYBODY has the potential to sleep WORK? And I’m not talking about the poor minimum wage earner who takes on three jobs to feed the family and can hardly keep his eyes open while manning the cash register at your local convenience store. I’m talking about the person who THINKS he only has TWO jobs, but there’s a THIRD he doesn’t know about.

At ALL!

Asleep On the Job

I’m a business man, so I find this VERY exciting. If we could follow the Chinese example and house our workers in dormitories attached to the plant, we would have a whole zombie workforce waiting around to power a shadow economy. Sleepworkers could be trained to march to their posts when they roll out of bed, their eyes as vacant as the Bride of Frankenstien’s. And because they don’t remember that they’re putting in the hours, you don’t have to pay them. Not a thing! In fact, it would break the law to pay them, because paying them would call attention to their sleep WORK job, which would wake them up to the idea that they’re being used. And you should NEVER wake up a sleepwalker!

Sleepworkers could do great things for us, especially in highly sensitive defense-related industries where secrecy is important. If your sleepworkers don’t even know they’re at the plant, they can’t lift any documents to send to Wikileaks. And because each is in his or her own world, they won’t fraternize or gossip or plot to overthrow management.

We might just get rid of day jobs all together. Then we would work all night, not remember a thing in the morning, and play all day.

During our waking hours, we’d be totally free to do what we like, but too fatigued to get into too much trouble. And everyone would have a dream job!

Optimistically yours,
Spin Williams

Have you ever gone sleepwalking?

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64 thoughts on “Sleepwork for a Living”

  1. I feel like I am sleep walking this morning since I have to leave for Bismarck in 15 minutes and it isn’t even 6:00 here yet. Have a fun day on the Trail. I will be at a Traumatic Brain Injury workshop all day today, and I am giving a 3 hour workshop tomorrow on Psychological Testing in Competency cases and Undue Influence in Elder abuse. I don’t know why I let myself get talked into these things. I’d rather pull weeds.

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    1. And that’s what I’ll be doing today – pulling weeds. And planting a few things. I’ll be thinking of you while I pull those weeds. I hope the workshop goes well for you.

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  2. Good morning. I don’t have any evidence that I do any sleep walking. If I am a sleep walker, I’m not a productive one because all of the things that I didn’t get done before I went to bed are still there waiting for me to complete in the morning.

    I do wake up in the middle of the night very often and stagger around half awake before getting back to bed. Once I was so disoriented that I accidentally made a wrong turn and went into a bed room where someone else was sleeping. That was not good because the person who was sleeping there woke up and was very frightened because she thought I was a prowler. Since then I have tried to be sure I know where I’m going when I get up at night.

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    1. One of my dad’s few stories from when he was in the army was about a late night return from the latrine while he was in the Philippines (during WWII) – he almost crawled into the wrong cot. As he pulled back the mosquito netting his fellow soldier sat bolt upright from the already occupied cot with a knife that he kept tucked under his pillow, convinced my dad was a Japanese soldier sneaking in…as my dad said, it was good he had already been to the latrine.

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  3. i have tried sleep journaling where i write down the deam i am having and try to make sense of it in the morning. it is interesting but it messes with my sleep and my handwriting which is not great in the daylight hours goes down hill in semi sleep mode. i do get reminded regularly of the time i came home in a blissful semi conscious state after a big night out with the boys and turned to relieve myself into the open closet door next to my bed. ahhh a memorable occasion

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    1. Well, it is a good thing that I didn’t think I was in the bath room when I accidentally went into another person’s bed room in the middle of the night. Accidentally waking a person up is bad enough. If I also did what you did in the closet, tim, I would have been in double trouble.

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      1. i was informed of my error at the time i was committing it but the sentiment was that frankly my dear i dont give a damn and off to sleep in a reclining position. luckily this is a singular occurance and not a by product of good times on guys night out

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    2. I did the same, tim, keeping a little notebook by my pillow so I could record my dreams. That was part of an attempt to find significance in my dreams, which tend to be hallucinogenic and nonsensical. The notes I took were more evidence of the same. One morning I woke up and read my nighttime note about my latest dream. The entry said, “Something about a duck with a propeller instead of feet.” That ended my interest in recording my dreams.

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    3. I was on the receiving end of a similar experience. When I was about 10 years old, my little brother, about six, woke me up when he entered my bedroom and stood next to my bed, silently fumbling with the fly of his pajamas. I asked him what he was doing but his reply was incoherent. I leaped out of bed and grabbed him by the shoulders and escorted him to the bathroom. I will never know if that was Freudian, conscious, or what. He claims not to remember.

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  4. I did sleep walk as a child, up to about age 7, occasionally going outside, mostly just wandering the house. On my current sleep medicine I do some things, like eating, I do not remember in the morning but I do not think it is considered sleep walking

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    1. Sandy and I were eager for the first episode of the new season of Doc Martin three weeks ago. On that episode he chewed out the new doctor for taking Zolpidem, my sleep medicine. My wife laughed at me. Then a few minutes later he did a rant about doctors who prescribe many medicines to a patient. So I laughed at her. The next week the aunt, a new character to the show, announced she is my wife’s age and that she is dying of exactly the disease my wife has.

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      1. We have just discovered Doc Martin and are addicted. It’s pleasant for Husband to see a character who is less inclined to social interchange than he is. :) My only beef with the show is they are SO antagonistic toward anything alternative.

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        1. It’s a delightful series, Barbara, although the characters are drawn with cartoonish exaggeration. I think the producers are careful with truth on the science stuff. As you probably know, earlier shows are on DVD in the Netflix system.

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        2. We somehow decided to get Doc Martin as a Netflix selection. They have started carrying it on public TV here. Things always turn out so badly for Doc Martin and he still is able, in his own odd way, to save the day for other people. I think the very good actors make the show work, especially all the interesting character actors as well as good lead actors. I also like the way it is set in a small sea side town.

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        3. Yes, of course the characters are exaggerated, as they are in all the sitcoms I enjoy. :)We are just beginning season 4, getting them from our local video store.

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  5. I am not a sleepwalker, but Daughter is. She will crawl down from her loft bed and come and say crazy things to me while I’m in bed (or getting ready for bed), often involving animals and her friends from school or some mashup of stuff that has happened that day and.or the next day. It is difficult sometimes not to laugh at her while I guide her back to bed. Glad she hasn’t tried to navigate the stairs in that state.

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    1. I hope no one decides to sleep walk over to my bed and talk to me. I have enough trouble dealing with people during the day. I want them to leave me alone at night and I’m sure people who know me have the same thought about hearing from me in the middle of the night. However, when it comes to kids, I usually like to hear what they have to say and might even enjoy hearing from them at night as long as it isn’t too late at night.

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    2. Oldest daughter used to do that. She didn’t have a loft bed, but she would come in and say the craziest things that made no sense at all. It took me a while to realize that she wasn’t awake, so I should just send or bring her back to bed.

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    3. My best hunting and fishing buddy talks in his sleep. We were sharing a tent one night while camping along the Brule River when he sat bolt upright, looked at me with an intense expression and said, “Yum, yum, yum! Corn on the cob!” Then he licked his lips in an exaggerated way and flopped back prone in his sleeping bag, deeply asleep. You wouldn’t want a person like that to know any precious secrets, like the formula for Colonel Sander’s chicken.

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  6. My son was a very sound sleeper which came in handy when I needed to go to the hospital for a delivery in the middle of the night. Often I could bundle him up, drive to the hospital, put him in a bed in L&D for hours, and return him home without waking him. In the morning he would say, “Did I go to the hospital in the night?” When I would ask why he was suspicious he would say, “Cause I’m wearing pants!”

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  7. No, and I don’t think I know anyone who has.
    But, Spin, I really wouldn’t mind it if some of the repetitive chores that go with home-and-grounds owning could be done while I sleep. Let me know if you develop some kind of training seminar…

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    1. Great idea BiR! If the floors, vacuuming and dusting could get done while I was sleeping, that would improve things at my house immensely. I’d even accept brownies/elves/fairies if they would do this!

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      1. For the fourth straight year the Sakatah Trail is closed at this end. The DNR web page says they are first repaving now and then later they will replace culverts. But of course to replace culverst they will dig up the paving they are doing first

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  8. I only wish I slept that soundly! I’m one of those people that wake up at every little thing and need the room perfectly dark and quiet to even get to sleep (I reserve eyeshades and earplugs for emergencies, since they’re kind of uncomfortable, especially in summer). The roommate loves traveling and adores hotels, but they’re just chambers for sleep-deprivation experiments as far as I’m concerned. It’s one of the reasons I don’t go on vacations except to science fiction conventions: if I’m going to not sleep, it might as well be because I’m wired up and going to too many late-night panels than because the mattress feels strange and there are little green “power-on” lights all around the room.

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  9. My mother once woke up and found her pillow and her chest drenched in bright red blood. She panicked and wondered if she were dying. Then she saw a bowl on the blanket beside her, a bowl that had the day before been filled with fresh red cherries. She apparently walked to the refrigerator in her sleep, got the bowl of cherries and went back to bed to eat them. The “blood” was cherry juice.

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  10. Sleep talking is fascinating. I recently got a client whose childhood was devastated by incest. She’s a highly-functioning, competent and in-charge lady who’s blocked much of what happened with her father. It’s extremely difficult for her to talk about. Her husband came in with her last week and told me that, in the middle of the night, her “little girl” awakens and begins to talk about all sorts of childhood memories! The dear man, knowing what this process entails, has developed an actual relationship with this middle-of-the-night inner child and tenderly interacts with her for as long as she’s “out”. In my 30 years of practice, this is truly a first. He said that this only started happening after she began therapy.

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    1. Ask your other clients if they have ever been told that they talk in their sleep. If they do talk in their sleep, try to find out what they say. You might be able to develop a new approach to therapy from this.

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  11. I think I’ve gone through years of sleep walking – functioning while I’m totally in a daze.

    I don’t think I’ve ever slept walked but I did have an incident with some similarities. When I was a kid – less than 10 years of age – our family went to a neighborhood picnic. Before the meal, some of us kids went across the road and rode some ponies bareback. I was riding behind a bigger kid and fell off. After that I don’t remember anything, but I “woke up” sitting in a chair at home. I asked my sisters if I had eaten supper at the picnic, etc. and they told me I had. Apparently, I was functioning “normally” but I was really not fully conscious.

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      1. Yeah, when I told my mom about it years (decades) later, she just shook her head and said “You must have had a concussion.” There’s a lot to be said for parents who don’t “hover” over their kids, but I suppose this is one case when a little hovering (or just plain observance) would have been good.

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    1. I fell on the ice once as a child and had a concussion. I remember “waking up” on the couch at home, after I’d already been taken to the emergency room. I had to lay still for a few days, after which my complaints about a headache were ignored. It took weeks for the headache to go away.

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      1. It was such a strange feeling – the waking up bit. The last thing I remembered was falling off the horse and getting up afterwards. Next thing I knew I was waking up – sitting in a chair at home. I’d like to know how I acted during the time I was blanked out. Did I act so normally that nobody even noticed something was wrong with me?

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        1. The brain is a strange organ indeed, Edith. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did in fact act so normally that no one suspected that something was amiss.

          A few years ago, I accompanied husband to the hospital for a colonoscopy. The drug used to keep him comfortable and free of anxiety during the procedure was one causing short term amnesia. On the way home, he felt completely normal and wanted me to drop him off at his place of employment. I didn’t; I brought him home instead because he wasn’t aware that he was telling repeating himself endlessly. I explained this to him several times, but he just didn’t retain anything. The next day he was back to normal.

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        2. When our son had a concussion at age 17, it was his friends who alerted us to his strange behavior – the repetitive questions. At the ER, a doctor finally suggested that we write down the answers to the 4 or 5 questions he was asking, and when he started in again, show them to him. Pretty soon, he said “I asked that before, didn’t I?”

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  12. Hi all! No sleepwalking here – in fact, with the teenager, it’s just the opposite. She sleeps like a rock and if you try to wake her before she’s ready, she often won’t remember the interaction or discussion. She does thrash around a bit; when she was much younger, she routinely fell out of bed. When she had a tot bed, she absolutely refused a bedrail. As soon as she dozed off, I would go into her room and lay a big blanket on the floor next to her bed. Usually within a couple of hours, I could hear a “thunk” and there she would be on the floor. Most of the time I just left her there and covered her w/ another blanket. When she was five, she HAD to have a loft bed (to be fair, her room at the time was quite small). The bedrail was not optional at that point – we used it until she was in the 6th grade. Now she has a regular bed and doesn’t fall out anymore.

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  13. No sleepwalking to report here. But talking about conscious states of mind, I have on numerous occasions been awoken by a phone call and proceeded to have a conversation, sometimes even a lengthy conversation, and then gone back to sleep. More often than not, I have no recollection of the phone conversation at all. It’s as if the conversation fades away just like most of my dreams do upon waking. People who have had these conversations with me claim that the conversations were perfectly normal, and that they had no clue that I was apparently half asleep when talking with them.
    It has been several years since this happened, possibly because I sleep so soundly nowadays that a mere phone call doesn’t wake me up.

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  14. As far as I know, I don’t sleepwalk. There is no one to argue with me on this point, so I’ll stick to it. I’m a light sleeper after about 2 a.m., but there’s a portion of my sleep, the first few hours, when nothing can wake me up. If I’m awakened during this period of sleep, I can recall it but not clearly. I’m sure I’m incoherent and I stumble around if I have to get up.

    There have been some “booms” in Waterville late at night recently. I heard three booms one evening a few weeks ago. The following night, there was a large boom around midnight which woke me up. A week ago, my coworker reported another loud boom around 11 p.m. I didn’t hear that one at all. I don’t know what’s causing it. The City staff say that it isn’t happening. I’m pretty sure that those of us who have heard it aren’t imagining it.

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    1. As I have said before, my parents lived near Hawk Ridge in Duluth, over the ridge. For two summers there were strange noises that no one could track down, sheriff, biologists, nosy neighbors. It was a news story in Duluth, the sound recorded by TV and radio stations. It was sort of animal and sort of mechanical. Once in the middle of it there were some strange smells. Only two summers, never tracked down.

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    2. when in las vegas two weeks ago my roommate freaked out and said it was like dynamite exploding 3 or 4 times . the windows shaking the whole room in a tremor. i slept through it, he could believe it. i must have been tired. in the morning he was compalining that the front desk should comp us the room for such a unbelievable late night disturbance. i happened to look at the papers they gave us at check in earlier in the day and they informed us they would be imploding a parking ramp outside our hotel room window at 3 am and they apologized in advance. took all the wind out of his sales.

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    1. Thank you! It’s a different version than the one we danced to in high school, but I like it even better. Such a haunting melody.

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  15. Update on my daughter: all three donors are doing well, except tired. Two of the recipients are doing very well, one having tough time. She was a barely qualified candidate. Becca is getting meals served each evening by church members.
    You know how medical folks ask you all the time about latex and other allergies? My daughter is allergic to latex, citrus, and mint. She came out of surgery with skin rash because they used latex despite all the labels and warnings on her. Then they put lotion on her that had citrus in it. But a minor issue.

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    1. luckily she wasnt ther for an amputation.
      glad to hear she is doing well. it is a constant reminder that people arent mean or ugly they just arent paying attention and are functioning on less than all 4 cylanders.

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  16. which reminds me that after reading about all the concussion stuff and not remembering the conversation … i am often accused of not remembering conversations, at all, not getting facts confused or havinf a different recollection of the conversation, totally not there in the memory at all, it is a little disheartenig at times but the stuff i do remember is enough to keep me busy and the stuff i dont hasnt gotten me into trouble anywhere but on the honeydew list so i will count my blessings. i had a landlord for my ebay store business that had a problem with remembering conversations we never had and the result of her remembered conversations had me doing stuff i would never have forgotten. when i told her she was coming at me from la la land she really went berzerk. i guess i wasnt supposed to question her dream world. i left her building a short while later. i cant imagine how anyone else stays ther. i found out after the fact she has had this problem or years and everyone else deals with it. wow

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  17. OHYES…when I was a teenager I woke up in our kitchen with the lights on and did not remember how I got there. I had a son who jumped out of the top bunk every night and walked into a closet where he would say very clearly “What is this? Where am I?” Anohter son laughed so much about his brother’s sonambulistic strolls that the sleepwalking one bought a padlock and chain, hitched to a pair of blue jean cutoffs and locked himself in bed each night….if he tried to sleep walk the chain jerked him awake. Kind of clever of a 15 year old to solve his embarassing night rambles.
    The one who laughed at him once sleepwalked into a storage area underthe eav es of the two story house thinking he was in the bathroom. He made a huge puddle there and then kind of woke up and started yelling for help. We rescued him from the long spikey nails that stuck through the roof in that area…Gadzooks!!!! There ARE guardian angels present.

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