As chapter five in the book told us, sleepwalking is a relatively common occurrence in children. Most of the time they just make funny stories to joke about in the future, and I actually thought it was kind of cool when I was a kid (although it never actually happened to me). However, as the book demonstrated to us by giving some examples, sleepwalking can actually become quite dangerous in some adults. This reminded me of the time two years ago my friend's 16-year-old brother ended up a half-mile away from his house in only his underwear in freezing temperatures.
According to some sources though, the widely-distributed sleeping pill Ambien may actually cause an even more dangerous occurrence--sleep driving (and we thought we had a problem with texting and driving). According to the article, blood samples were taken in the state of Wisconsin for 2,300 impaired drivers, and 53 of those had Ambien in their blood. These 53 cases also accounted for some of the most bizarre incidents on the road, such as driving on the wrong side of the road instead of just simply weaving into other lanes.
The scientists do want to make it clear, though, that taking Ambien as directed should not cause these erratic behaviors. The pill is designed to be completely out of the blood stream within eight hours of taking the pill, but taking more than one or taking a pill too late in the night can actually cause it to stick with the patient for their morning commute. It's clear that taking this drug incorrectly can cause some very undesirable side effects, such as the case of Sean Joyce, who ripped of his shirt on an airplane and threatened everyone on board. Joyce had no recollection of the events when he woke up in a cell the next morning.
Sleepwalking will always be a very peculiar behavior in humans. However, we must also realize that more extreme cases of the behavior can actually cause harm to many people, and there is sufficient evidence to show that common sleeping medication can actually bring out extreme cases of this behavior in many of us.