Awake – difficulty in waking sleeper
A few people exhibit the unusual symptom of being incredibly difficult to wake when they are asleep. In the book Ramana Maharshi, Arthur Osborne reports that family and friends of Ramana often found it difficult to wake him. So much so that school-friends would sometimes carry him out of the dormitory and pour water over him or take advantage of him in other ways, and he still did not wake.
The author read an account – source unfortunately forgotten – in which a young white European man had been sent by his company to work in Africa. One evening he was driven to a function by his black chauffeur who waited for him in the car. It was very late when the function finished, and the young man found the chauffeur apparently asleep. He tried to wake him but even after shaking him and shouting could get no response. He then tried the man’s pulse, but could not find it. After dragging a doctor to the scene, he was told the man was not dead but asleep, and only a young fool would be ignorant of the fact that many native people sleep like the dead, their respiration and pulse being barely detectable. Only the unhealthy Europeans experience the shallow and disturbed rest they call sleep.
Many people report a lesser degree of such inability to be woken in which speaking while asleep occurs. Partners or parents report that the person asleep will talk to them as if awake, answer questions earnestly, even hold a conversation, but do not wake. This may be akin to sleep walking.