Nicole Delien: real-life Sleeping Beauty sleeps for 64 days

Nicole Delien is a 17 year old girl from Pennsylvania. She looks like any other ordinary teenager, but what makes her special and different from her peers is the fact that she suffers from a very rare condition called Kleine-Levin syndrome, also known as Sleeping Beauty disease.

Kleine-Levin syndrome is a neurological disorder, which causes the person affected to sleep excessively, for most of the day and night, waking up just to go toilet or to eat. During an episode, although awake, the patient is in a state of confusion and doesn't fully understand what is happening around her, or presents a dream-like state.

Nicole usually sleeps between 17 and 19 hours a day and part of the daytime she's in a sleepwalking state, in which she carries out her physiological needs, such as eating and go to the bathroom. Often she doesn't recall being awake, making her parents even more concerned for her safety.

Obviously Nicole's disorder had a massive impact on her life, and has prevented her living like any of her friends or even going to school. Her somnambulism can be extremely severe from time to time: she once slept for 64 days, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and woke up in January, when she finally opened her presents with her family.

Unfortunately the causes of this rare disease are still unknown, and often take long for doctors to recognise the symptoms and give an accurate diagnosis, in Nicole's case it took 25 months. Some professionals have even told her parents that the girl was sleeping that much, because she was craving for attentions.

The parents also need to take a gentle approach with the teen during waking hours, as she often feels stroppy, depressed and have child-like behaviour. At the moment there is no known cure for Kleine-Levin syndrome and Nicole takes a combination of drugs to treat narcolepsy and epilepsy symptoms.

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