Sleep consists of a series of events which our brain cannot recall. During sleep our body comes to rest but our brain keeps performing hyper activities. Though you don’t remember what physical or mental activities you did last night, your partner may intimate you about their experience.
What are sleep cycles?
Sleep consists of 4 stages which we refer to as sleep cycles. The first three are referred to as H1, H2 and H3 which are nucleated in NREM sleep (non rapid eye movement) and the last one is REM (Rapid Eye Movement). The first three take you from wakefulness to deep sleep. In the first three stages, our body keeps moving and there are activities going on processing itself into deep slumber. The duration of each stage is short. Sleep cycles repeat itself throughout the night and we go to each stage of sleep 3-4 time every night unless disturbed.
- H1 lasts about 5 to 10 mins and consist of the transition from being awake to getting sleep.
- During H2 our brain relaxes and our body temperature drops and heart rate starts to fall, it lasts for about 20-30 mins. The third stage i.e H3, last for longer hours.
- During H3 our muscles relax, blood pressure falls and breathing slows down. The body goes through the deepest sleep at this stage.
Considering the medical benefits, NREM sleep is vital for body repair, tissue regrowth, bones and muscle building and a strong immune system. As we get older, our sleep lightens and there is a decline in our deep sleep.
During H1 our brain is mostly active and may immediately respond to any surrounding sound or other disturbing activity. But during H3 the body is at a dormant stage and fails to identify the surrounding activities.
REM Sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep is the stage of sleep cycle where the brain becomes super active and our body immobilizes. The brain processes the daily experiences into memories during this stage of sleep and is very vital for learning. This is when a dream occurs and our brain is engaged in creating images in the form of hallucination.
Remembering our last night's dreams can be very difficult and there is a simple observance to it.
Dreams occur when we are passing through REM sleep. A dream is virtual processing of images, thoughts and sensation during our sleep. We sometimes feel annoyed, but even after repeated efforts we are not able to extract those thoughts from our sleep. The simple reason for this is those thoughts and images are not processed into our memories.
Dream is a mysterious phenomenon and the reason why dream occurs is still not clear. But there is always a relative theory to explain this phenomenon.
In the journal Behavioral and Brain Science, Researchers answered this question. According to them, the changing levels of acetylcholine and norepinephrine during sleep is the reason for our forgetfulness of dreams.
It's a bit hard to understand right?
To be short we can say that the brain’s ability to make memories is impaired during REM sleep in which our brain forms images and we dream.
Not only do we dream, we are also not able to remember most of our physical activities during our sleep. Some get a hint of it, others don’t. Mostly, due to our lack of consciousness our brain is not able to recall all the physical activities from the night when compared to the day time activities.
What is Parasomnia?
Parasomnia is a sleep disorder involving abnormal behavior and physical activities. Parasomnia can occur at any stage of sleep. Usually parasomnia is related to your experience, your thoughts and objectives. Normally during REM sleep the body is immobilized and no physical events occur, but in some cases, your body movement may give a sense of what you are dreaming, like a horrifying dream which results in wake ups. While there are different kinds of Parasomnia, sexsomnia mostly happens during the NREM sleep cycle.
Sexsomnia is sleep disorder where a person performs sexual episodes during sleep, this can also include masturbation and intercourse. Sexsomnia is rare. In a study, about 8% out of the total count witnessed sexsomnia.
What are the legal consequences of SexSomnia?
Though in an unconscious state, you are considered responsible for your actions. Sometimes Sexsomnia can be violent and aggressive causing injury to your companion or other associates which can result in serious legal consequences. Given a situation such as this, you or someone you know is undergoing, do not panic and get medical help from a legit physician near you. Else you might just be risking yourself with legal complications, owing to sexsomnia. Sleep Evaluation and consulting with medico legal experts can help you get a better understanding of the problems and prevent you from landing in jail. Though there are self precautionary measures to deal with sexsomnia such as sleeping alone and locking the room. Try to avoid sleeping with minors and childrens if you are a patient of sexsomnia.
It is difficult to evaluate whether a crime has been committed while in sexsomnia or not, the evaluation of your past medical records can be a signal to identify whether you are a patient of sexsomnia or not. For charging you for a crime, intention and execution are important prospects. Though execution can be secured by your presence at the crime scene, evaluating intention is difficult. A sexsomnia patient may not recall the events he committed and as such the series of events act as a chain to implicate you in the crime.
Legal Defense dealing with Sexomnia
Automatism is a state of mind in which a person acts unintentionally and unconsciously. The movement and behavior of a person may vary during his consciousness as compared to sexsomnia. A probable defense of Automatism can help you from landing in jail if supported by past medical records indicating sleep disorders.
It is upon the prosecution to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a sexsomnia patient was conscious and had an intention to commit the crime. Providing medical records in the court can strengthen your claims and can disarm the prosecution case.
Any act conducted by a person who was not in control of his mind at the time of commitment of the crime can raise a defense of partial insanity. The Law is clear. Any act which has been committed by a person with an intention and motive within his proper sense of mind shall be charged with that offense. Two essential requirements of a crime are your motive and physical action. It shall be the duty of the prosecution to establish your crimes.
A past medical record of insanity can save you from getting convicted. To prove whether at the time of commitment of the crime, the person was suffering from insanity or not shall be the duty of prosecution.