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Losing Sleep Over This One

I thought I had it bad because my husband snores like a jackhammer. Then I read about the poor Coral Springs woman whose husband likes to strangle her in his sleep.

File this one under, "You know it's time for separate bedrooms when …"

Alyson Kaplan, 36, told police that she awoke, gasping and feeling pressure on her neck. She heard her husband say, "I'm going to strangle you." This brings new meaning to the old Crystale Gayle song, "Talking in Your Sleep." It also raises a tough choice for many wives: Would you rather your husband whisper another woman's name in his sleep or clamp his hands around your neck?

The wife told police that for the previous 18 months her husband has been verbally abusive, poking, scratching and threatening to stab her at night while he was supposedly sleeping. During an episode last year, her husband tried to use the drawstrings from her hooded sweater to choke her in the middle of the night. (Note to self: No more hoodies as sleepwear.)

Mark Kaplan, 37, a middle school principal in Weston, initially was charged with a felony count of battery. But the Broward State Attorney's Office dropped charges last week. Prosecutors believe the husband's claim that a sleep disorder called parasomnia made him do it. The wife, who says her husband has sleep apnea, does not want her husband prosecuted.

Let's hope this guy doesn't fall asleep at work. What happens when he's daydreaming?!

This should make every woman married to a guy with sleep apnea (which is pretty much every married woman I know) pause -- or at least hide this story from hubby so the nightlight doesn't go off in his head,

Turns out this guy isn't the only one to use the "sorry, honey, I was only dreaming" defense. Back in 1987, a Canadian man was acquitted after experts testified he was actually sleeping when he drove 14 miles to the house of his in-laws, where he stabbed his mother-in-law to death.

Does anybody notice a pattern here? Irritable man + sleep = a woman dead. Maybe those old-timers who came up with the marriage rule "Never Go To Bed Angry" knew something they weren't telling us. If Victoria's Secret was smart, it would hang up the sexy lingerie and start marketing body armor.

Research shows that people with parasomnia are caught in between a sleep and waking state. They can supposedly do all kinds of things – sleep eating, sleep sex, teeth grinding, even sleep e-mailing – without being aware of their actions. ("Yes, honey, I was sleeping with that woman, but I was asleep, so I didn't know what I was doing.") Most sufferers are males older than 50. My guess is that most men have run out of good excuses by this age, so this is the best they can come up with.

The Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis has reported cases where one parasomniac thought he was a quarterback heading for a touchdown and ran forcefully into his bedroom dresser. In another case, a husband would awake from a dream in which he was protecting his wife from danger, only to find that he had been pummeling her.

Sleep disorder experts say, with therapy, this problem can be overcome. Until then? Ladies, I recommend sleeping with one eye open.