Extremely rare 'Sleeping Beauty' condition makes woman sleep for a staggering 20 hours a day
There's nothing better than a long lie-in, right?
Seriously, every morning when my alarm sounds, I moan and groan and pray to God for an act of divine intervention to make sure I get to stay in bed just a little bit longer. The thing is, I don't really appreciate how lucky I am. As it turns out, there are people out there who are literally sleeping their lives away. One such person is 18-year-old law student Megan Firth, who suffers from Kleine-Levin syndrome - also known as Sleeping Beauty syndrome.
Megan, who was first diagnosed back in 2013, can now sleep for up to 20 hours a day as a result of her hypersomnia. Her condition affects only affects only one person in every million, and means she spent months in bed; only rising to use the bathroom and eat. Although she doesn't sleep all the time, her hypersomniac episodes are often triggered by the cold and dark winter season, as well as by air travel. Meghan often experiences an intense 'brain fog' and occasionally becomes unable to distinguish between dreams and reality when in a fugue state.
Commenting on her condition, Megan stated:
"[My family] are all pretty used to it by now and know not to bother me, as I can become very panicked when I’m woken up in the middle of a long sleep. It’s quite difficult because you can really feel like you’re missing out, when all these new friends are going out until late each night and you have to be back in bed before midnight. Luckily, I have made some really great friends who have been very understanding, but I still have to think about it all the time, otherwise, if I stay up too late, I can trigger another episode and become bedridden for several weeks."
"My mum and dad were very worried and thought I might have a brain tumour, because the doctors I saw had no idea what it could be. But then one day my mum was up late Googling my symptoms and Kleine-Levin popped up. It seemed to match perfectly with what I was experiencing, so she suggested it to the doctors in Queensland Children’s Hospital, where I was being treated, who agreed."
"KLS has meant sacrificing a lot. I played county cricket for Oxfordshire, but I found that I couldn’t keep that up and do my school work, because I was just losing so much time sleeping ... I have to think about it a lot and be careful to make sure everyone at uni knows that I have this problem. All of my friends are very aware of it, and so is the university, who give me longer to hand in my essays and extra time in exams. The worry is that one day I could fall asleep and never wake up, so I text my mum every morning to tell her I’m awake and if I don’t, she’ll ring one of my friends and ask them to wake me up."
Despite her rare condition, which meant that she spent far less time in school than her classmates, Megan has still managed to get a place at Nottingham University to study law, and so far her first term has gone well. She's only had two sleepy episodes since starting, and says that her tutors and fellow students have been very understanding. Even after everything she's been through, Megan is confident she can live a normal life.
So next time you start whining about having to get out of bed early, or moan about not being a morning person, then just remember that it could be worse!