They sound more like zombies than sleepwalkers...

LONDON Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:57am EDT

Naked volunteers pose for photographer Spencer Tunick in front of the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, August 18, 2007. A surge in naked sleepwalking among guests has led one of Britain's largest budget hotel groups to re-train staff to handle late-night nudity. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Naked volunteers pose for photographer Spencer Tunick in front of the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, August 18, 2007. A surge in naked sleepwalking among guests has led one of Britain's largest budget hotel groups to re-train staff to handle late-night nudity.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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LONDON (Reuters) - A surge in naked sleepwalking among guests has led one of Britain's largest budget hotel groups to re-train staff to handle late-night nudity.

Travelodge, which runs more than 300 business hotels in Britain, says sleepwalking rose seven-fold in the past year, and 95 percent of the somnambulants are scantily clad men.

"We have seen an increased number of cases over the years so it is important that our staff know how to help sleepwalking when it arises," Leigh McCarron, the chain's sleep director, said in a statement.

One tip in the company's newly released "sleepwalkers guide" tells staff to keep towels handy at the front desk in case a customer's dignity needs preserving.

The company said naked wanderers often ask receptionists such questions as "Where's the bathroom?," "Do you have a newspaper?" or "Can I check out, I'm late for work?"

Studies have found that sleepwalking can be brought on by stress, alcohol, eating cheese or consuming too much caffeine. It generally takes effect an hour or two after going to bed, when people are first slipping into a deep sleep.

Asked Thursday why she thought 95 percent of its sleepwalkers were naked men, a Travelodge spokeswoman said: "We have more men staying with us than women, so that could be a factor."

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