Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On Sleeptalkers

It was way past 2AM when I turned off the lights before crawling into bed.

I had already settled in when my sleeping roommate in the top bunk suddenly began groaning... first, it sounded like a sorrowful, frustrated, soft moan that crescendoed into a loud groan and she started kicking too. It would have been funny had I not been a scaredy cat.

I whispered to my other classmate who was in the other bottom bunk, "What was that?? Should we wake her?" I asked anxiously. My mind was considering a possible demonic possession happening right above my bunk.

When she came to, she said that she was dreaming that someone was trying to steal chickens (they didn't have any) from their place, and that there were also kids in Mission Impossible garb that she was trying to fight off too.

Anxiety dreams...

After prayer time last night, my other classmates were joking about how they were starting to hear each other talk in their sleep, or thrashing, kicking and even yelling out. Teeth grinders raised hands.

I'm not alone, after all...In the recent days, another of my roommates got scared because when she was up late studying (the rest of us in the room were sleeping), she heard me start talking in my sleep. She got scared silly, afraid that the next time she turned, instead of being asleep in bed, I'd be by her side, wild-eyed, with hair raised, foaming in the mouth and grabbing at her leg (or worse).


I do talk in my sleep, they say. There were other episodes, and on top of that, I'd be grinding my teeth. My (favorite) Psychiatry textbook said that teeth grinding or bruxism was found in 5-10% of the population and required no treatment, except of course, maybe teeth-guards/plates to protect the teeth during sleep.

Also, since they can't understand nor speak my dialect (I was a natural-born Cebuano, they speak Hiligaynon ), they really have no idea what I talk about (Thank heavens.hehe) Although, one time, they said that I said out loud, "You're just being kind...", and chuckled about it, because, even in my sleep, I'd still be speaking English.

Bad dreams, nightmares, sleep-talking, bruxism, are said to be manifestations of anxiety. With the "Mother of All Exams" coming up in less than 50 days, and closing in fast, I wouldn't be surprised if bad dreams and teeth grinding get more frequent among us. I'm expecting someone to start sleep-walking any day now...

According to Freud, anxiety dreams are a failure of the normal dream mechanisms of displacement, condensation, etc., to control the dreamer's state, where symbolism is supposed to mask the patient's drives, frustrations so that release is still possible, and that sleep won't be disrupted.


Contrary to popular belief, sleep talkers do not reveal secrets in their sleep. If they were to talk lengthily, it is usually about life events. One time, I remember my father reciting lines from an Edgar Allan Poe poem in his sleep when we were younger... talk about cool sleep-talking. lol.


P.S. I write more when I'm stressed and anxious. Don't be surpised to see me here more often.

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