Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Night terrors

Worm reckons day-sleeping (something new-dad Brit is having resort to) can contribute to night terrors. My experience leads me to agree. I can't blame my diurnal snoozing on something as glamorous as Worm's nightclubbing, though.

When I was a student (second time round) I often found it a struggle to leave the college bar of an evening; this meant I couldn't help napping with my head ensconced in the creamy pages of a dog-eared tome the following afternoon. And lo! the night terrors began.

I experienced them just a handful of times but they took a peculiar form. I would wake in the early hours to feel a presence at the end of the bed. 'Opening' my eyes (still partly asleep) I would see hovering there the pale figure of a little old man, sunken cheeked and balding but with wispy white tendrils of hair brushing his shoulders. He invariably wore a silk patterned kimono wrapped tight around his shrunken form.

Gratifyingly, in a way, my response was to leap out of bed and, with a blood curdling scream, attack the little blighter. Of course, I ended up crashing into the opposite wall of my small college room.

Naturally, living in a communal house in the grounds of a communal college, this sort of thing gets noticed. I know it freaked out some, who assumed the house was haunted (or at least, that's what they claimed).

In the years immediately after leaving college - perhaps half-a-dozen times - I felt a similar presence but not in its original charming form. Thankfully, I learnt to moderate my response: a sharp gasp before rolling back over to sleep.


worm said...

no wonder you were terrified - kimonos are horrible!

Its weird isn't it!? I used to get a feeling of someone sitting on the end of the bed too - never saw who it was though, as I was paralyzed, staring into the pillow, my body still asleep but my mind racing. So what I used to do was concentrate all my effort into trying to move a finger, until I was literally drenched in sweat, when all of a sudden the brain/body interface would kick into gear and i'd leap from the bed shouting like i'd been electrocuted.

happy days

Gaw said...

I'd never linked it to sleeping in the day though until your comment. However, I don't think this is a sufficient condition as I've napped in the day since and not had them. The full cause will probably remain mysterious.

Brit said...

The fight or flight, tendency eh. Happened to me in real life a couple of years ago - first night of holiday in Greece I woke to find a would-be burglar standing over my bed. I yelled and flailed wildly at him in a mad fit of terrfied rage, chased him out the balcony door. In some ways the worst and best moment of my life.

Anonymous said...

i wondered why you were reading my blog at 0330 the other day, i'm used to only getting Americans on at that time.

i am naturally nocturnal and generally sleep badly if i'm forced to get up before 1400 or so. The only exception was when i was on Prednisolone, don't know why.

Gaw said...

Brit: I was peculiarly happy that my first response was to try to marmalise the little bugger.

Elb: Prednisolone keeps me up I'm afraid. Next time I'm up at 3am I'll drop you an email!

Anonymous said...

i am usually awake till dawn, vampire-like, so go ahead!