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Director Of 'Dead Asleep' Wants Viewers To Assess How Their Habits Affect Their Own Sleep
Randy Herman Jr., claimed he stabbed his childhood friend Brooke Preston more than 25 times while sleepwalking during a hungover and sleep-deprived state.
The director of a documentary about the case of a man who claimed he killed his roommate while sleepwalking wants everyone to take a long hard look at their own health and sleep.
“Dead Asleep” takes on the 2017 death of 21-year-old Brooke Preston, who was killed by her roommate and childhood friend Randy Herman Jr., then 24. He stabbed her at least 25 times in a violent attack that involved her being dragged around the two friends’ West Palm Beach home.
But Herman, who called 911 following the brutal stabbing to confess to killing her, claimed he had absolutely no memory of the killing at all. Soon enough, his defense began claiming that Herman — who had a history of sleepwalking — killed his friend during a sleepwalking episode.
His sleeping history wasn’t the only element that came into play. His drinking and sleep deprivation at the time of the killing were also discussed during his murder trial.
Herman, who had a habit of self-medicating with alcohol and had previously been convicted of two DUIs, had been on a drinking binge in the days before the stabbing, the Miami New Times reported in 2019. At one point, he stayed up all night before watching the sunrise and spending the day with Preston, who was preparing to leave their home to move in with her boyfriend. The friends spent the day drinking on the beach with a bottle of champagne and a 12-pack of beer. Before returning home, Herman picked up two more cases of beer and estimated that he drank around 30 beers that day.
The impact of that level of drinking and lack of decent sleep for Herman, who regularly stayed up all night, were both brought up as contributing factors during his trial. His defense tried to claim that he killed during this state of severe confusion. While ultimately, the jurors didn’t buy that story and convicted him of murder, “Dead Asleep” director Skye Borgman says that the way our personal daily habits affect our sleep and health matter.
In an interview with Oxygen.com, she said that she’d like viewers to come away from the documentary by looking “at our day to day activities and how we get through the day, [...] how much we are self-medicating and take a step back and go that maybe it’s affecting us in ways that we don’t want it to affect us.”
Alcohol consumption is known to induce sleep disorders, and sleep deprivation — like drinking — can cause issues with memory and perception. Frequent use of one’s phone and computer can also contribute negatively to one’s mental health.
Borgan — who told Oxygen.com that she swayed back and forth about her opinions on Herman’s sleepwalking-murder claim — hopes that, at the very least, people who watch “Dead Asleep” reassess their own habits.
“The amount of technology that we are surrounded by, I feel, has increased because of the isolation we feel because of COVID,” she said, adding that many people are self-medicating with Ambien — which can apparently induce temporary amnesia — and alcohol and other substances to help get to sleep.
“It’s an interesting time to step back and look at what we are doing to get our normal lives back, and get some sort of peace or restfulness,” she said. “Sleep, it’s what rejuvenates us, it allows us to live, it allows us to be peaceful people and if that starts to get upset or imbalance it could be catastrophic.”
She added that while she is not saying “everybody can commit murder in their sleep,” that taking “care of ourselves better so we can sleep better” is a positive goal to strive for.