'Sleeping Beauty' Student Naps For Weeks At A Time
This is the reality for Rhoda Rodriguez-Diaz, from Leicester, who is known to sleep for up to 22 hours a day, only waking in a dream-like trance to eat junk food, drink and go to the toilet.
Known as 'sleeping beauty syndrome', the rare condition even caused the 21-year-old to fail her second year of university after she slept through her exams.
Rhoda, who studies psychology, said: "Life goes on whilst I'm sleeping. Reality hits me when I wake up and realise I've missed like a week of my life.
"I feel a huge setback when it does happen. I miss out on so much. That's the hardest part of it.
"It's hard to explain to people where I have been. Because it's so rare a lot of people struggle to understand."
As a child her GP believed she was suffering with hyper insomnia but after undergoing tests last year doctors finally discovered that Rhoda actually had the one-in-a-million Kleine-Levin Syndrome.
She said: "When I was 15 or 16 I remember finding myself sleeping more and more. Even at school I would fall asleep in the study area.
"I forced myself to go to school. I didn't get teased but I found it very frustrating.
"I was really into my sports but I couldn't do as much as I wanted to because I was constantly tired.
"I had to force myself to do every day activities and found myself mentally tired all of the time."
Rhoda added: "When I wake up after a few days I feel normal again. My friends say they can tell when I have an episode coming on because my mood changes.
"I get worked up and my behaviour changes drastically."
Last year she went through a particularly bad period, suffering a number of episodes which affected her studies.
In July it meant she didn't make it to several exams and missed important coursework deadlines - but she's now re-enrolled to resume her studies, and is sitting her second year again.
"I missed so many exams. 60 per cent of my course is exams and I missed half of them.
"It wasn't my fault. But they said this is an 'exceptional case' so I am allowed to go back.
"It's a big relief but I have to redo a lot of work I did in second year. It was difficult for me."
Rhoda added: "This is just a hiccup in my life and I am just waiting until it fades out. I want to be taken serious in life and this isn't helping."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS