Real-life Sleeping Beauty sleeps for 22 hours a day - she once slept for 4 days straight
A woman is being dubbed as the real-life Sleeping Beauty as she sleeps for up to 22 hours a day due to a rare disorder.
Joanna Cox, 38, experiences excessive sleeping and struggled to stay awake during the day. She was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, a rare condition which leaves you struggling to wake up and you feel "unrested" and "mentally foggy".Joanna began experiencing the bizarre symptoms in 2017 when she started feeling exhausted during the day. She found herself sleeping in random places like clubs and cars.
Joanna began experiencing the bizarre symptoms in 2017 when she started feeling exhausted during the day. She found herself sleeping in random places like clubs and cars.
"It started out of nowhere - nothing triggered it, I just felt really tired. At first, they thought it was depression, and I was referred to a mental health specialist. But that was ruled out because I didn't have any other signs apart from tiredness," Joanna was quoted as saying by Mirror.
While the symptoms got worse, no one could diagnose her condition. She was forced to quit her job in 2019. She was eventually referred to a sleep clinic at Pontefract Hospital, Yorkshire in October 2021 and officially diagnosed with the rare sleep disorder.
Over the years, her condition has worsened. She also suffers from "vivid hallucinations" when she tries to stay awake and has a recurring vision of "hundreds of spiders crawling" all over her bed.
Joanna consumes protein shakes and ready-to-eat meals as she may fall asleep while the food is being prepared.
"It's honestly ruining my life - I'm like a real-life Sleeping Beauty. I can't be woken up once I'm asleep. I can't work, I can't drive, and I can never make any plans because I don't know if I'll be awake. I wake up not knowing what day it is or how long I've been asleep for. It's such an isolating condition to live with and I just really want some help," Joanna said.
"One day recently, I was awake for 12 hours and that was the longest I've been awake in nearly six years. The shortest is usually just a few minutes, enough time to wake up, have a drink and then fall back to sleep again," she added.
The mum-of-two has tried lots of different therapies and medications, but not found anything that helps relieve her symptoms. She hopes to find a doctor who can help her life a normal life.