Occasionally, as a med student I am sleep deprived. By occasionally I mean ah-lot. I try to look on the bright side of it: I never have trouble falling asleep once I'm actually in bed, and I like to pretend that I'm training to be a Masai warrior instead of just a doctor. Some of my best naps are in lectures where I zonk out for a good 10 minutes, then have to snap back to full battle-ready attention when the mumbling neurologist points his arthritic finger at me and demands and answer to his unintelligible question.
There is one odd side effect of being sleep deprived--every night, between 10 and 10:30pm, I lose my God-fearin' mind. They are actually called hypnagogic hallucinations. At night, usually when trying to have a serious and meaningful conversation with my fancy-A, my mind is so determined to fall asleep that it leaves the rest of me behind, weaving in and out of dreams, mixing consciousness with the utterly bizarre. You know how you have crazy dreams where one minute you're climbing a fireman's ladder in a tutu and the next you're running from vampires? Now imagine having the things you would say in such situations actually come out of your mouth during a real conversation. That's what he has to put up with.
Most people have experienced this--it's the name for when you're about to fall asleep and dream of falling or having something thrown at you, then jerk yourself awake.
I swear he baits me sometimes just to hear the ludicrous crap I say. When we were very first dating we were having a great conversation about life when I interrupted him to ask if the "physics demonstration is outside". Awesome. Last month he woke up to find me laying on top of him with my face veryveryclose to his creepily saying "I just want you to know how much I love you" before dropping my head and snoring slightly (hey, I have allergies). He said he laid there quietly for a while wondering if I was planning to stab him before he could go back to sleep. Just this weekend I hallucinated that there were ants on his neck. I don't think there were, but I sure slapped the hell out of him just in case. I thought I was still dreaming when I did that, but the red marks backed his side of the story.
"This time, let's read him a story about the Loch Ness Monster and see what he does!"
Little did I know, these hallucinations can actually be a feature of narcolepsy. So can things like hearing your name called just as you drift off to sleep, or hearing a bell ringing (these are auditory only hallucinations, and could be pretty scary if you didn't know what was going on).
Even though we know what's going on, I think my future hubby prefers when I fall asleep first. Just so he can defend himself.