Am I sleep-spilling?
August 27, 2012 4:28 AM   Subscribe

What caused this mysterious wet spot on my bed? No, I didn't wet the bed, and it's not sweat.

I went to sleep around 11:30 last night, and woke up at 2:30 to discover that part of my left arm was soaking wet. There was a giant wet spot on the fitted sheet, and the top sheet was also soaking wet in one spot. Other than the elbow of my long-sleeve t-shirt, the rest of me was perfectly dry.

I was sleeping on the right-hand side of a queen-sized bed. There was a glass of water on the table behind me, but it didn't seem to be disturbed, and the wet spot was in front of me in the middle of the bed. No color, no odor. I have not pets and was sleeping alone. The only thing I can imagine is that I somehow picked up the glass of water in my sleep and spilled it, but it seems so unlikely. Any other ideas?
posted by three_red_balloons to Health & Fitness (28 answers total)
Leaking roof? Leaking hot water bottle?
posted by embrangled at 4:30 AM on August 27, 2012

posted by R. Mutt at 4:34 AM on August 27, 2012 [10 favorites]

The roof is dry, and I don't have a water bottle. The only thing in the bed with me was my cell phone, which got very wet.

It would have been a truly impressive amount of drool...the spot was at least a foot in diameter, and the top sheet was almost dripping wet. So strange.
posted by three_red_balloons at 4:41 AM on August 27, 2012

Hmmm this may be an outside long shot, and I'm not sure it's worth mentioning, but the only time in my life that I had a seizure apparently about a cup of drool came out of my mouth at the time. Any chance you had a seizure in your sleep? I don't know if that's even possible. But at least the volume of drool is possible.
posted by Grither at 4:51 AM on August 27, 2012

Any vents or light fixtures overhead? We had rain come out of a canned light once.....ceiling stayed dry but bed had a big wet spot. There was a leak in the roof that traveled down the joists to the light fixture.
posted by pearlybob at 4:58 AM on August 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

The only thing I can imagine is that I somehow picked up the glass of water in my sleep and spilled it, but it seems so unlikely.

People can clean, cook, and have conversations while they sleep - this is entirely possible - provided there was water in it and then there wasn't when you woke up. If not, I've got no idea.
posted by heyjude at 5:10 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

No, I didn't wet the bed...

I bet you did. Just a little. I've actually had dreams where I started taking a pee. It's only because I'm a relatively self-aware dreamer that I was able to wake myself up and take care of business for reals.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:43 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thorzdad, the OP stated that they were perfectly dry except for the wet sleeve.
posted by sundaydriver at 5:55 AM on August 27, 2012

Did you touch the spot? Just in my experience (ack, the things I admit on the internet) drool in that quantity has a very specific slimy feel to it.
posted by anaelith at 5:55 AM on August 27, 2012

sundaydriver...I realize that. However, the OP has not identified their gender. As a male, I can attest that, in those rare moments of nocturnal wee, the arm can easily be in aiming trajectory, depending on position, alignment, tumescence, etc. It doesn't take a huge amount of liquid to soak a foot-wide spot. Merely a quick squirt, really.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:03 AM on August 27, 2012

I did touch the spot, and it just felt...wet. I'm female, and, ahem, was wearing (perfectly dry) panties.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:09 AM on August 27, 2012

Okey-doke, then. Theory disproved.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:19 AM on August 27, 2012

Was the glass empty or nearly empty? Or even just emptier than when you went to bed? Because my best theory is that you woke up in the middle of the night, reached for the glass to drink, spilled quite a bit of water onto the bed while you were moving the glass, and didn't realize at the time and don't remember doing it now.

If you sit up in bed, is the wet spot on the path your glass of water would have taken had you reached for it?
posted by lydhre at 6:52 AM on August 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

Which is of course your theory too, haha, so count my comment as anecdata that I've done similar things while semi-conscious.
posted by lydhre at 6:54 AM on August 27, 2012

Other than this sounding like a MindTrap® card, I vote slob. Did you work out yesterday, or do anything that made you really tired? Work on your car in the sun for hours? When you're wiped out sometimes you don't wake up and catch yourself. Given the description of where the wetness was, sounds like you slobbed.
posted by cashman at 7:06 AM on August 27, 2012

Are you lactating?
posted by fancyoats at 7:25 AM on August 27, 2012


Or more mundane: I have experienced people reaching for and spilling water as various people are suggesting in their sleep without noticing, so just another anecdotal data point in favor of that.

You don't happen to have an air conditioner in a position where it could have conceivably let condensation drip on the spot?
posted by Wretch729 at 7:54 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

However unlikely it might seem the glass of water is the obvious and only sensible option. Why would you even consider anything else? Sweat would be all over (or at least more widely distributed) and drool would be by your head. I think you would find it took surprisingly little water to make a "giant" wet spot.
posted by nanojath at 8:11 AM on August 27, 2012

Did the glass of water have ice cubes in it originally?
posted by Kruger5 at 8:25 AM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

It happened to me once; the upstairs' neighbours' washing machine waste water pipe wasn't plugged in. The bed got mysteriously wet after a bit of water fell through the ceiling without leaving any trace - until the ceiling got enough trapped water in it, that is. Just in case there's a bathroom above your bedroom.
posted by Spanner Nic at 9:35 AM on August 27, 2012

Reach up and touch the ceiling all around the area where a drip would have come from, searching for any trace of dampness. There can be water coming in (eg from eaves or upstairs bath or whatever) that runs along ceiling joists to reach an unexpected spot. And you can get drips forming without it leaving a visible mark on the ceiling, for a while anyway. If there is water coming from the ceiling you want to take care of it ASAP.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:56 AM on August 27, 2012

I once found a small puddle on the floor of my apt. - wiped it up. Later in the day it was back. Strange, no drip from the ceiling. But then I noticed a bulge in the paint on the wall. It was a new apt building with fresh paint. The water had leaked from upstairs, but had formed a bulge between the paint and the wall. It looked like a small pregnant belly with a pinhole in the front. A very small jet of water was arcing from the wall into the center of the room. When there was no water left the paint looked like sagging skin.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:21 PM on August 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

When ill, or particularly exhausted, or drunk, I can produce a lot of drool. One memorable occasion I woke up choking because I rolled face first into the puddle.
posted by geek anachronism at 4:34 PM on August 27, 2012

I will never forget the time my husband - while asleep - sat up, got his cup of water from the nightstand, took a drink, and then proceeded to set his cup of water down ON THE BED, BEHIND HIS BUTT, where it promptly spilled all over the both of us and woke him up for real.

My theory is that you took a drink of water while still asleep, and spilled some in the process. I have witnessed it firsthand and declare it possible!
posted by meggan at 7:03 PM on August 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

What's above your bedroom? Roof? Attic? Living space?
What is directly above the wet spot? Bare ceiling? A light fixture? Something else?

Here's something to try; won't take but a minute: Lie in your bed in the exact position you were in, relax, then take a drink from your glass (which is in the same place on the table). Notice the path the glass takes, and where it could conceivably spill water. Does that include the wet spot?
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:44 PM on August 27, 2012

Thanks, everyone. As it turned out, my ceiling is actually wet elsewhere (the roof is directly above, for those who asked). It seems to be completely unrelated—the ceiling is completely dry above my bed— but thanks to the mystery spot, I spent more time than usual staring at my ceiling, and have potentially averted some other problems. So that's good.

Although it seemed sort of inconceivable to me yesterday morning, when I'd just awoken from a terrible night's sleep trying to avoid the giant wet spot, I've come around to the idea that I probably tried to take a drink of water while asleep. Since I had to wash my sheets anyway yesterday, I tested pouring a bit of water on them, and it's true that it takes very little to make a bit spot. It's also true that I tend to spill drinks even when I'm awake.

It's either that or ghosts. I live in what used to be an Italian social club in what used to be a Mafia-run neighborhood, in Brooklyn. Definitely possible there are ghosts around.
posted by three_red_balloons at 2:48 AM on August 28, 2012

Er, big spot, not bit spot.
posted by three_red_balloons at 2:52 AM on August 28, 2012

Italian ghosts would probably spill delicious grappa.

posted by lydhre at 1:40 PM on August 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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