One woman says that she subconsciously attacks her boyfriend while she sleeps – she kicks and hits him while screaming loudly, leaving him bruised.
Danielle Carter, 37, has no control over her actions while slumbering caused by night terrors, but luckily her boyfriend John Keast, 33, whom she loves when she is awake, is very understanding and even sees the funny side To share bed with her.
Danielle, from Epsom, Surrey, is a public relations director by day and a nightmare at night. She wakes officer John several times a week with her piercing screams and her beating, kicking and beating limbs.
She can also sleep with her legs up in the air, and occasionally sits bolt upright in bed and sings while she sleeps soundly.
Even snoozing during the day can cause problems – she closed her eyes on a plane and shocked other passengers when she fell asleep and started screaming.
Danielle, who has been with John since 2018, tried to hide her unconscious antics from him in the early days of their relationship and said, “It actually gave me insomnia. I was so concerned about waking him up from screaming that I couldn’t sleep in bed next to him. “
She added, “He would wake up in the morning and I would be down on the sofa. I think he thought it was him at first.”
But now the brave John sleeps with her every night and just accepts anything that happens in a good mood and immediately falls asleep again.
And the couple learned to laugh together at the bizarre situation.
Danielle said, “John and I laugh about it. I often can’t remember what I did in the night, but he likes to tease me about it in the morning.
“I sometimes feel bad when I hurt him and apologize, but luckily the police didn’t knock on my door!”
Danielle has had trouble sleeping since she was a child and, in addition to her severe night-time fear, suffers from restless leg syndrome, which causes her to sleep with her limbs raised, even though she then repeatedly slams them on the bed.
She also suffers from sleep paralysis, which is where a person cannot move or speak when they wake up or fall asleep, but their brain is active. As a result, she has terrible visions – including a man trying to shoot her while she cannot move.
Despite all of this, Danielle is used to having her sleep disrupted and just tries to hug him.
She said, “In the past, I never told people about my sleep state because I found it a little embarrassing.”
She added, “But as more and more of my friends became aware of it, it turned into a running joke and now I just take it on.”
Danielle’s parents, who had been a “terrible sleeper” since childhood, were the first to bear the brunt of her beating limbs.
She said, “If I slept badly, I would go to sleep in my parents’ bed and kick and beat and beat up – to the point where they would go downstairs and sleep and leave me too. “
This evolved into night terrors, where Danielle happened to scream in her sleep for up to 10 seconds, occasionally waking herself up in the process.
She explained, “Often it would start when I was breathing heavily and then I would make grunting noises that would build into a scream.
“Sometimes I was in such a deep sleep I could barely remember it, but sometimes I was wide awake and my heart was pounding.”
She continued, “It was really scary at first, but now I’m so used to it that I fall back to sleep pretty quickly.”
Even so, her childhood nights usually went smoothly. But as she got older and started living in shared apartments in London, her roommates took the brunt of her bizarre sleep patterns.
She remembered, “I once felt asleep on the sofa and one of my roommates saw me paralyzed – my eyes were wide open but I couldn’t move.”
She added, “She was scared and didn’t know what to do.”
In the worst case scenario, Danielle woke up screaming at least 5 nights a week in 2015 – and her disturbed sleep pattern took its toll on the fitness fan who has also been running part-time fitness classes for over 10 years.
She said, “I remember being in a class in 2016 and suddenly everyone stopped and I had no idea why.”
She continued, “Just a few seconds later, I realized that I had fallen asleep for a split second and stopped moving – they were just copying me.”
In the summer of 2015, she saw her family doctor and was referred to a neurologist who ruled out epilepsy as the cause.
An overnight sleep test at London’s Guy’s Hospital in February 2016, and further tests the next day, ruled out narcolepsy, a condition in which people happen to break down when they get emotional.
She said, “Fortunately, nothing was seriously wrong with me, but the tests showed that my brain was in a constant state of arousal so I never really fell asleep, which also explained my restless legs.
“I also have Crohn’s disease, which means I’m low on iron – and that apparently causes restless legs too.”
She was given small doses of melatonin – a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle – from doctors, which has helped improve her condition.
Around this time, Danielle had the same recurring vision of sleep paralysis – a man sat on her windowsill with a gun trying to shoot her.
She said, “Oddly enough, I wasn’t scared when it happened – I was told to cough to get out of the sleep paralysis. So I tried to cough quietly so the man wouldn’t see me.”
After intersecting through work with John – also a part-time fitness trainer – the two became a couple shortly after they met one evening in May 2018.
At first, Danielle was nervous about telling John about her strange nightly capers – or worse, showing him.
But at some point she couldn’t stay up all night or hide on the sofa – and he had to find out.
The first time John experienced Danielle’s night terrors was four months after they met, on a trip to her hometown of Swindon to meet her mother, Denise.
Danielle said, “I only had a single bed with my mother, so we slept in separate rooms.
“All of a sudden I remember John looking worried and I was like, ‘What is it? “. He said,” You screamed “- I think he thought we were broken into.
“We talked to mom about it the next day and she jokingly said to John,” It’s always been a nightmare – but now it’s your problem. “
Danielle soon admitted the full extent of her problems and was relieved when John took it upon himself as they began to share a bed more often.
But they were put to the test in August 2019 when the couple moved into an apartment in Epsom together, attended Danielle’s cousin’s wedding, and then flew to Budapest for a weekend.
Danielle remembered the flight there: “Whenever I am particularly stressed, the night terrors appear – and it was a very busy week before the flight.”
She added: “I fall asleep very easily using public transport. Before I knew it, I was on the plane and was starting to breathe heavily. “
Unfortunately, the couple had been sitting apart, and John was sitting a row in front of her so he couldn’t quickly wake her by gently shaking her before moving on to the next step – screaming.
Danielle continued, “John recognized the signs, but because he was sitting in front of me he couldn’t wake me up fast enough so he just had to sit there and know what was coming.”
She continued, “And then, as he expected, I screamed – I think he prayed it was more of a child than me.
“I woke up from this and was so embarrassed.
“I apologized to everyone around me, but there was this fearful atmosphere for a second.”
During the years the couple shared a bed, John had a front row seat to do some funny antics.
He recalled, “When we started dating, we’d talk on the phone forever – and Danielle got so tired that she started talking about owls and circuses, which was pretty confusing.
“Sometimes when I get up at night to go to the bathroom, their legs shoot up like they’re looking at you – then they slowly fall back down. It’s so strange.”
He added, “You could be one up, one down, or both up, and then suddenly she’s going to slam you into bed.
“She’s going to do this flashy fist-clenched action. I was on the receiving end of her kicking and she’s bruised me a few over the years.”
He continued, “Last summer she stabbed me in the eye with her flapping arm. It hurt for a couple of days – I had a small cut on the bottom of my eyelid. I know she didn’t mean it. “
He continued, “A guy or two at work gave me a funny look the next day – they were too polite to say so, but they probably thought I was in a junk the night before.”
Around Christmas time last year, Danielle – a festive movie lover – was playing a Christmas show in her sleep.
John remembered: “I was sitting in bed on my phone and Danielle was already asleep, and suddenly she sat up straight and sang very loudly,” I’m walking in the air! “From The Snowman.”
He added, “It was fun – the next morning I asked her if she remembered her performance. She had no idea what I was talking about. “
He concluded, “Danielle is definitely worth the effort! I don’t mind that much over time. Although I haven’t counted the number of times I’ve woken up with my heart racing, there have been so many funny moments.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m sure you will continue.”
Danielle said that thanks to the ruling out of more serious underlying conditions, she can now see the fun side of her antics – and encouraged anyone with similar sleep patterns to get medical advice, as it could be a sign of something more serious: like sleep apnea, a condition that humans live in stop breathing while sleeping.
To learn more about Sunrise, a medically certified home sleep test that can help diagnose sleep apnea, visit uk.hellosunrise.com