17-year-old Nicole Delien from Pennsylvania suffers from a rare disorder that manifests itself through sleeping episodes.The Kleine-Levin, or "Sleeping Beauty" Syndrome, only affects 1,000 people worldwide, of which most are young males.
During episodes, Nicole sleeps 18 to 19 hours a day, and she remains asleep for 32 to 64 days at a time on some occasions. The most she slept was a period of 64 days, from Thanksgiving to January, Daily Mail writes.
She wakes up during the episodes, only to eat and go to the bathroom. She does so during a dream-like, sleepwalking state, her mother describes.
According to a case review by the Oxford Journal, the condition manifests itself not only through periodic hypersomnia or excessive sleeping, but also through cognitive and behavioral disturbances.
Symptoms of Kleine-Levin include disorientation, hallucination, child-like behavior, and binge-eating, most frequently during sleepwalking episodes.
When Nicole wakes up, she doesn't remember anything that went on during the time she slept, which is how she missed out on all major holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and a trip to Disney World with her family, as a child.
Mother Vicky Delien was motivated to get a diagnosis for her daughter's condition. However, she had to speak to a lot of doctors at different hospitals, before one was able to correctly identify the condition.
A specialist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, told her that her daughter is most likely suffering from "Sleeping Beauty" Syndrome, and that medication could offer some relief.
Nicole hasn't experienced a sleeping episode since March, but she is constantly worried she might fall asleep at any time. The description of the symptoms on the Kleine-Levin Syndrome Foundation website reveals that she may never be safe, as anything can trigger a relapse.
"Affected individuals may go for a period of weeks, months or even years without experiencing any symptoms, and then they reappear with little warning," the website blurb reads.