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by Abigail Van Buren

Sleepwalker's Restless Habit Has Turned Into a Nightmare

DEAR ABBY: I am engaged to "Tony," whom I have known since first grade. We live with his mother under the same roof, but in separate rooms. Tony is perfect in every way except one: He's a restless sleeper.

Sometimes he wakes up shouting. He has fallen down the stairs and woken up in different rooms. He talks in his sleep as well. I thought I could live with it, but a month ago things changed.

I came home late and he was sleeping downstairs. I think he thought I was an intruder. He woke up and ran at me. He started trying to hit me and was shouting. I was screaming and crying, "Honey!" over and over to wake him up. He says he would never hurt me, but when he ran at me, it was clear he didn't recognize me.

For a week after that, I slept with a barricade against my door. Now I'm terrified of him when he's asleep. I know it's only a matter of time before we move out on our own and will be sleeping in the same room, or trying. How can I get over this fear or help him to sleep more soundly? -- COWERING IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR COWERING: You can help your fiance by getting him to a sleep disorder specialist, because that's his problem. Frankly, I am surprised he hasn't seen one before now. His doctor can refer him, or he can go online to find one near you. Please don't wait until something like this happens again, or he hurts himself falling down stairs while sleepwalking.

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