It may sound like a first world problem, but Nicole Delien, termed “real-life sleeping beauty,” has been suffering from Kleine-Levin Syndrome — or “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome,” that can make her sleep up to 64 days straight, where her “awake” period is essentially sleepwalking to eat.
No one knows what’s up. Nicole and her family have attempted to figure out what may be the cause. They tried to treat her for a virus. She had no virus. They thought maybe West Nile. Nope. They theorized it might even be a rare form of epilepsy. That was wrong too.
And for those who’re thinking it, yes, they even considered the possibility that she might be faking it for attention. That’s long since been considered bunk.
While she might not be fully asleep 24-hours a day, when she is in those periods when she’s supposedly awake, it’s actually a sleepwalking state, and doesn’t remember doing anything during that point, including eating. Nicole once even slept through the holidays, waking up in January to find her Christmas presents waiting for her.
The Kleine-Levin Syndrome foundation says about the disorder:
When awake, the patient’s whole demeanor is changed, often appearing “spacey” or childlike. When awake [s]he experiences confusion, disorientation, complete lack of energy (lethargy), and lack of emotions (apathy).
There’s no known cure, and affects maybe 1,000 people — hardly enough to even make a Kickstarter for research. The Deliens are using a combination of epilepsy medication which seems to reduce the number of incidents to one or two a year. Still, that’s a period of time that no one can predict, and it certainly makes day-to-day life difficult.
Sleeping Beauty Syndrome may sound romantic, but for Nicole, it’s a horribly disruptive disorder that she hopes one day to never have to deal with again.