This is a REAL disorder!
Fifteen-year-old Louisa Ball suffers from Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. This causes her to sleep for days at a time. Her longest "nap" lasted 13 days, and there's nothing doctors can do to stop it.
What is KLS ... and what causes it? We asked pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine.
Dr. Alanna Levine: "KLS is a rare disorder that typically begins during the teenage years. It usually affects adolescent boys, although there have been cases in girls and in adults. Attacks are episodic, lasting up to several weeks -- with periods of normal sleep in between."
The cause of KLS is unknown, although some doctors feel it can be triggered by a viral infection. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders defines KLS as recurrent episodes of excessive sleepiness that last at least 18 hours per day. To be considered KLS, the episodes must recur at least once or twice per year and have a minimum duration of three days (though they can last up to three weeks).
People with KLS do awaken for brief periods during the episodes, but are often confused and don't act normally. During the awakenings, they eat and use the bathroom (although in a confused manner). Many patients report feeling as though they lose a part of their lives during the episodes.
But there's good news for people like Louisa who are affected by KLS: They typically outgrow it. With time, the episodes will lessen in duration and occur less frequently.
Until that happens, though, Louisa will be known as a real-life Sleeping Beauty.
|Dr. Alanna Levine is a pediatrician in private practice and on staff at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, where she attends high- risk deliveries and cares for babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She is a national spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and frequently appears on television as a medical expert. Dr. Levine lives in New York with her husband and their two children.|