It’s another “confusional arousal!” Thanks for giving us such a good description.
Your husband’s behavior fits into all the classic patterns. He appears to awaken from sleep, then he starts talking gibberish and occasionally feels like he’s being attacked (which is why he sometimes hits you), and in the morning he doesn’t remember a thing! He’s not the greatest bed partner, but understanding what is occurring during these events most likely will help both of you to get a good night’s sleep.
Confusional arousals actually are partial awakenings from sleep. What this means is that, despite your husband’s awake-like appearances, he’s really still asleep. Part of his brain is awake, but most of it is deeply asleep. This explains why his talk is gibberish (you will not be able to carry on a normal conversation during these arousals) and why he feels like he’s being attacked. He’s confused!
Doctors recommend that you do not try to engage your sweetie in conversation during these episodes, except to calm and reassure him. Also, if the arousal is prolonged or agitated, turning a light on in the room immediately will help your honey to realize that he’s just in your bedroom—and that there are no attackers. Also, don’t expect him to remember anything in the morning. Why? Because he never really was awake!
These arousals usually occur during the first three hours of sleep. Accordingly, you may wish to be careful not to wake your husband during the first part of the night, which can cause an episode. His alcohol use, if it is excessive, could be contributing to the disorientation he feels during these episodes. If it is moderate, however, it most likely is not related. Provided your husband doesn’t hurt himself or you, the best strategy is to gently soothe him back to sleep. But remember, if he does become violent, turn on a light immediately.
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