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The work of a sleepwalking artist offers a glimpse into the fertile slumbering brain

Lee Hadwin has been scribbling in his sleep since early childhood. By the time he was a teen, he was creating elaborate, accomplished drawings and paintings that he had no memory of making – a process that continues today. Even stranger perhaps is that, when he is awake, he has very little interest in or skill for art. Penny Lewis, professor of psychology at Cardiff University in Wales, researches differences between waking and sleeping brains and says that, while Hadwin’s particular nocturnal proclivities are quite unique, sleep for humans is hardly a passive activity. Among those with somnambulism – also known as sleepwalking disorder – sleep-eating is common, and even sleep-murder has been documented. In this short film from BBC Reel, Lewis looks to brain-scan research and our evolutionary history for clues to explain Hadwin’s unusually active slumbers.

Video by BBC Reel

8 July 2019

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