A chronic sleepwalker spends her nights serving clients, making cups of tea and getting ready for work in her SLEEP.
Mel Ould, 23, rarely sleeps and spends her nights lucidly dreaming, where she is neither completely awake or asleep.
Despite often going to bed at 8pm the university graduate will rarely get more than three hours sleep, leaving her permanently exhausted.
The brief time she spends catching 40 winks she will get out of bed and physically act out making drinks, up to 50 times a night.
Sometimes she even wakes up fully dressed and ready for work.
She said: “When I’m sleepwalking I’m dreaming about talking to customers and getting stuff ready and doing what people want me to do.
“I work as a runner for a TV company and my job is pretty much making teas and coffees.
“I imagine them coming into my bedroom. Sometimes I’m just talking to them and going through problems with them.
“Sometimes I make them drinks, it depends on the night.
Normally Mel doesn’t leave her room and uses an imaginary cup to serve clients but things got dangerous when she fell down the stairs while sleepwalking and woke up with bruises.
“I thought people were coming to collect me for a bike ride and they were waiting outside so I walked down the stairs and woke up from the fall.”
“When I wake up I’m exhausted. I do not really sleep and I’m always tired. It’s horrible but there’s nothing I can do to stop it.”
Mel began sleepwalking during childhood but the condition has developed since leaving home on the Isle of White for Bournemouth University in 2012.
Things got gradually worse while she was studying a Production of TV and Live Events degree at the University of Arts in London which she finished last year.
Since then she has started her first job in TV as a runner and aims to become a programme editor one day.
She puts the fact that her sleepwalking has got more extreme down to increased anxieties since leaving home.
Mel, of London, said: “My brother and father used to be really bad sleepwalkers. My brother grew out of it but I’ve done the opposite.
“My sleepwalking depends on if I’m stressed. I’m a perfectionist and if I haven’t finished my tasks for the day or if someone got stressed at work it makes me stressed and I don’t sleep.
Despite always being tired Mel admits she is very stubborn and if something needs doing she won’t let a lack of sleep stop her doing it.
She said: “I’m very stubborn in that if I want to do something I’ll do it and sleep won’t let me stop.”
“I’ll spend a terrible night and will wake up really early and get ready hours before I need to.
“If I don’t wake up I’ll be imagining being at work. I usually wake up and think what the hell am I doing.”
Even though she’s always exhausted she has yet to take a day’s sick leave and says she’s yet to consult a doctor about it.
It seems that Mel isn’t the only one affected.
Silentnight’s sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakham, believes that sleep problems aren’t created when your head hits the pillow. He says that everything you do during the day impacts on how you sleep at night.
Dr Nerina has offered some tips for finally putting sleepless nights behind you:
1. Stop being so hard on yourself
Never feeling like what you’re doing is good enough is a common trait of perfectionism and perfectionists often have trouble sleeping.
2. Allow yourself to feel
The healthiest strategy for sleeping well is to acknowledge that life can be tough and allow yourself to feel when you need to in a constructive way. The key message here is – let it out don’t hold it in.
3. Be grateful
This isn’t about pretending life is perfect, it’s about acknowledging that there are so many good things in life if we’re prepared to notice them.