Woody grew frustrated with his live-in girlfriend when she began to disappear downstairs for hours every night. He’d hear Sarah shuffling around and playing video games. She was not loud, but the noise was enough to pierce the night. And the absence of the warmth from her body made it impossible for him to sleep comfortably.

They’d bicker and she’d protest. She had trouble sleeping, Sarah would say, or was afflicted with an upset stomach, or some other malady.

Despite his frustrations, Woody figured her lies were innocuous. Really, he thought, they were to deflect from his regular criticism of her video game habit. He knew he was a nag, and so most nights he’d roll over and wait for her to return.

But his frustrations bubbled over as Sarah’s absences became more frequent. Woody’s plan was simple: The next time she left, he’d follow her down, and provoke a fight. Confrontation, he found, was an effective way to get what he wanted.

He didn’t have to wait long. The next night, after he was sure she had settled in on the couch to play her game, he snuck downstairs. He was ready to rumble.

But as he entered the living room, Woody was jolted by the sight of Sarah’s head buried in his roommate’s lap, fully consumed with what was in front of her. The roommate leaned back, and without breaking eye contact with the video game he was playing, said: “Sup dude?”

Sarah jumped up and began stammering. “Uhh, ahh, uhh—what’s happening?” she spit out as she looked around the room.

“What the fuck?” Woody yelled.

“Doctor. I went to the doctor. I have somnambulism. Headaches! Somnam—it’s not my fault. It’s not what it looks like.”

But when pressed to produce a doctor’s note to confirm the diagnosis, Sarah hedged and obfuscated, claiming that she also suffered from amnesia and knew not where she had put it.


  1. Sleepwalking.


noctambulism, sleepwalking, somnambulance, somnambulation


  • /sɒmˈnæm byəˌlɪz əm/
  • /səm-/


From Latin somnus (“sleep”) + ambulo (“I walk”), +‎ -ism.

Cite this Entry

Modern Language Association (MLA Style)

“Somnambulism.” The Effin’ Word, The Effin’ Word, https://effinwords.com/dictionary/somnambulism. Accessed 25 May 2024.

The Effin’ Word, s.v. “somnambulism”, accessed May 25, 2024, https://effinwords.com/dictionary/somnambulism.

The Effin’ Word. (n.d.). Somnambulism. In The Effin’ Word. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from https://effinwords.com/dictionary/somnambulism

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