The 'Sleeping Beauty' syndrome which makes student nod off for a MONTH at a time
A student has revealed how she has missed birthdays and university exams - because she has been fast asleep.
Lily Clarke, 21, has a rare condition called Kleine-Levin syndrome, which makes her nod off for a month at a time. She wakes only to eat and drink before returning to slumber.
Over three years she was seen by seven different consultants and underwent a battery of medical tests, but was only diagnosed when her mother read about a similar case in the Daily Mail in February 2010.
'As soon as I read the symptoms I recognised them,' Adele, 47 said.
'It was such a relief to finally find someone who knew what I was describing.'
Ms Clarke said the condition first came on when the family, from Halsemere, Surrey, went ice skating in November, 2007.
'Lily was uncharacteristically quiet and kept saying: "My head feels strange - I don't feel well." I just thought she was coming down with a cold.'
After the skating they went to a restaurant and Lily fell asleep through the whole meal.
Lily refused to get out of bed for the next 25 days, barely eating or drinking. She slept for 23 hours a day and couldn't bear noise or light.
A month later Lily was due to take some mock exams but suffered a further three-week episode before making a similar 'miraculous' recovery. A third two-week episode followed a few days after her 18th birthday and her parents had to cancel her party.
Doctors suggested conditions from migraine to ME and depression. A consultant neuropsychiatrist suggested Lily was suffering from 'recurrent depressive episodes'. She was prescribed anti-depressants and a course of cognitive behavioural therapy.
However, a fourth episode followed in July 2008. This time she was awake for a few hours each day but was afraid to be alone.
'She behaved like a four year old, cuddling her teddy, sucking her thumb and crying that she thought she was going to die,' Ms Clarke said.