A student has revealed she suffers from a rare syndrome which means she can sleep for weeks at a time, and it’s so bad she has even napped through her exams.
Rhoda Rodriguez-Diaz from Leicester has ‘sleeping beauty syndrome’, which causes a person to nap for up to 22 hours a day and remain in dream-like trance states to eat, drink and go to the toilet.
At it’s worst, the 21-year-old’s sleeping episodes can last up to three weeks at a time, and it caused her to fail her second year at university after she slept through her end-of-year exams.
“It’s really annoying when people call me lazy,” she told the Mail Online: “I do struggle with the effects of it but it’s part of me and not who I am. It’s frustrating because I can’t help it.”
Rhoda was diagnosed with hyper insomnia by her GP when she was a child, characterised by extreme tiredness and need to sleep.
But it wasn’t until last September that doctors discovered the psychology student had the one-in-a-million Kleine-Levin Syndrome, nicknamed after the Disney princess Sleeping Beauty.
It causes Rhoda to go months at a time without experiencing any episodes, but when they do strike, she can be wiped out for days.
“Life goes on whilst I’m sleeping,” she explained. “Reality hits me when I wake up and realize I’ve missed a week of my life.
“I feel a huge setback when it does happen. I miss out on so much. It’s hard to explain to people where I have been because it’s so rare and a lot of people struggle to understand.”
A specialist doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital London finally got her diagnosis in September, but things have still been difficult, with episodes occurring every few months.
Despite this, she has enrolled to resume her studies and will be sitting her second year again after being accepted as an ‘exceptional case’ – trying her best to attend exams.
People who suffer with Kleine-Levin Syndrome are expected to grow out of the condition eventually, and Rhoda has learnt to manage her condition in her adult life.