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While being called a 'Real-life Sleeping Beauty' because of her unusually long sleeping bouts may sound glamorous, nothing could be far from the truth for 17-year old Nicole Delien. In fact, the Pennsylvania teen whose longest snooze has lasted for a record 64 days wishes she could just be a normal, sleep-deprived teenager!
If the sleeping sessions seem a little excessive even for a teenager, that's because they are. But Nicole has no control over them, for this beautiful teenager suffers from an ailment known as Klein-Levin Syndrome or Sleeping Beauty Sickness!
If you have never heard of it, you are not the only one. In fact, Nicole's sleeping sickness which began when she was just 6.5 years old, is so rare that it took visits to several hospitals before Dr. Michael Rancurello, a psychiatrist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was able to diagnose it and provide some medication and advice to help manage it.
Now, whenever Nicole starts to appear listless and grumpy, her family and friends know she is getting ready to hibernate and let her sleep for as long as she needs to, waking her up only to eat and go the bathroom. While the average sleeping spell lasts between 18-19 hours, many are much longer. What's worse is that she has no clue when they will appear - Sometimes she is struck every few months, at other times the gap is as long as a full year.
Though it may appear to be fun, Nicole is missing out on many important events thanks to this strange ailment. Not only is she forced to skip school but also, major holidays - For example, the young girl has only been awake for three Christmas days since she was afflicted at the age of 7. And, it gets worse. During one of her lengthy snoozes, she even missed the opportunity to meet with pop star Katy Perry. Fortunately, the kind singer heard about her unusual illness and arranged to meet with her backstage at one of her other performances.
Known to affect only about 1,000 people around the world, Klein-Levin Syndrome normally strikes during teenage years and is believed to triggered by an illness or virus. Doctors are still not sure what causes it, but believe that it may have something to do with a malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls the appetite and sleep functions.
The good news is that it magically disappears when the teens become adults and has no lasting effects. We sure hope Nicole's symptoms will go away soon so that she can lead a normal life again!