Mysteries of sleep revealed

By Richard Edwards
Last Updated: 8:01am BST 01/10/2007

It has long been believed that our dreams provide an insight to our innermost thoughts.
Take part in the Dream Survey Now experts say that our behaviour while we sleep can also reveal otherwise hidden aspects of our personalities that are out of keeping with our waking selves.

A new study published yesterday has uncovered how people often behave in ways that are entirely out of character while sleeping - including being selfish, intolerant and anarchic.
People who in the daytime are accommodating and generous are deemed “selfish” if at nighttime they have a snoring or sleepwalking problem and fail to seek treatment, or if they are men who just turn over when they hear the baby crying.
The research may help explain the psychology behind one of the great mysteries of bedtime: why partners who snore always seem to be the first to fall asleep.
“Intolerant” bedmates prioritise their own sleep to the detriment of significant others. Typically they give short shrift to a partner who reads.
A report in the journal Sociology says people’s conscious character is very different to when they are snoozing. Research by Dr Simon Williams of the University of Warwick divides sleepers into eight categories.
“Anarchic” sleepers fail to conform to convention regarding the proper time and place for sleep. “Nappers”, meanwhile, are no longer considered the layabouts they once were. Dr Williams said:
“The nap is now becoming an acceptable part of the working day. Some companies are building dedicated ’nap rooms’ for employees.”
Sleep “feigners” tend to be women, although there are also men who pretend to be asleep.
“Deviants” are people who do not sleep at night.
Humans spend a third of their life asleep - in an average lifetime equating to 25 years.
The report said: “All sorts of weird and wonderful things can happen while we sleep.” It gave examples of dieters caught on camera making trips to the kitchen in the night to gorge and added with a chilling note: “Murders have been committed by people while asleep.”