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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Chips are down for sleepwalk chef
Rab Wood flipping omelette
Mr Wood often cooks omelettes while asleep
A former chef who cooks chips and omelettes in his sleep has spoken of his desperation to find a cure before he sets his house on fire.

Rab Wood, from Glenrothes in Fife, is worried that he could burn his house down during his sleepwalking sessions.

The 55-year-old, who has been sleepwalking since he was 14 years old, said it is making his life a misery.

His wife Eleanor said she is constantly alert at night with worry about what her husband is going to do next.

It has been estimated that between two and 4% of adults in the UK sleepwalk. Experts at the Edinburgh Sleep Centre have said that if both parents sleepwalk then their children have a 60% chance of inheriting the disorder.

Children with one parent who sleepwalks have a 45% chance of it running in their genes while there is a 22% chance if neither parent sleepwalks.

Mr Wood said the problem almost led him to his death while on holiday.

He said: "I have had a near miss, I was on holiday in Spain and I was nine floors up in a hotel.

My wife says she used to be able to sleep on a bed of nails but since she married me she can't sleep very well, she's got to be alert all night
Rab Wood

"During the night I got up and started sleepwalking before trying to climb over the balcony.

"Just as I got my leg over the banister my wife pulled me back.

"My wife says she used to be able to sleep on a bed of nails but since she married me she can't sleep very well, she's got to be alert all night.

"I can put chip pans on, I put all the lights on during the night and the TV up loud and this is all in my sleep."

The former chef said he can also rustle up omelettes "to perfection".

"My wife says I should plug the Hoover in when I'm sleepwalking and do the housework."

'Limb twitching'

Chris Idzikowski, of Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said Mr Wood should look at his alcohol and cigarette consumption. Mr Wood had confirmed that he was a smoker and "likes to drink the odd can of beer".

Dr Idzikowski said: "We reckon that sleepwalking is a closet disorder amongst adults so that's why we are not sure of the numbers who suffer from sleepwalking.

"The facilitators are overtiredness, alcohol, cigarettes and sleeping pills, which all prevent the brain from waking up.

"The triggers for a sleepwalking episode are not breathing properly and limb twitching.

"There is also a strong genetic link with sleepwalking.

"Mr Wood needs to cut down his smoking, alcohol and regularise his sleeping."

See how sleepwalking affects Mr Wood


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