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Brandon Peters, M.D.

Teen Girl is a Real-Life Sleeping Beauty

By February 5, 2010

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Teens often sleep more than adults, but as recently featured on The Today Show, an English girl suffers from a rare disorder that makes her a real-life sleeping beauty.

Just 15 years old, Louisa Ball can spend days and even weeks asleep. She is afflicted with a rare neurological disorder called Kleine-Levin syndrome that is known to affect only a few thousand people in the world. Its cause is not known. The syndrome is characterized by hypersomnia, or an excessive desire to sleep and time spent sleeping, that occurs episodically. There can be other associated symptoms including: confusion, apathy, hallucinations, depression, and even hypersexuality. The afflicted person may briefly awaken during the spells, but seems to be in an almost dream-like state.

The hardest part for Ms. Ball's family is keeping her weight up during her prolonged sleeping episodes, as she is reluctant to eat or drink. As she dozes, her life slips past her, just like in a fairytale.

The disease course can be quite varied, with intermittent long periods of sleeping, but most people with Kleine-Levin syndrome grow out of it in a matter of years. In some cases, the disorder may last decades however, which makes one wonder whether historical cases may have been the inspiration for the children's stories of Sleeping Beauty and Rip Van Winkle.

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February 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(1) ericaAKAshawty says:

omg!!! my cousin had that and it was so heart breaking…. she has been asleep for a month and a half and we worry because we didn’t think any one else had the Kleine-Levin syndrome…. thank god we now know the truth…

February 11, 2010 at 9:51 am
(2) Dee Spann says:

Wow!! I didn’t know that was possible..

February 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm
(3) Lauren B. says:

This is a very interesting story, but the title bothers me. How does her physical attractiveness in any way relate to her medical condition? If she were not a thin, pretty blonde, I ver much doubt they would have used the “Sleeping Beauty” title. I wonder, if the girl were obese and had acne, for instance, if they would even bother running the story at all. That siad, good luck to Louisa Ball and her faimly.

February 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm
(4) erah says:

Hi! I pray that she out grows this!
The family is worried about keeping her weight up while she sleeps. Can she possibly have intravenous feeding while she is asleep, body massages to invigorate the blood and organs(head to toe)………..maybe get her up in her sleeping state and do some of the regular activities with family.(just a thought)Does it change any if given medication to stay awake.

February 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm
(5) erahs says:

Please respond to the possibilities of feeding louisa ball intravenously and massaging her from head to to toe keep the circulation and organs invigorated.

February 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm
(6) traci says:

I don’t think they call it “sleeping beauty syndrome” because of her physical appearance but because she slept like the princess in the story. I heard of the same title for men who are effected by the same disease.

February 15, 2010 at 3:16 pm
(7) sleepdisorders says:

I think giving her nutrition via an intravenous route or with a feeding tube would be possible. It seems that the family is able to keep up on her nutrition without doing this, so it may not be entirely necessary. A full-body massage sounds nice, even for those of us without the condition! :O)

As far as the name, it may be referred to as sleeping beauty syndrome within the press (for obvious reasons), but it is called Kleine-Levin syndrome formally within medicine.

February 25, 2010 at 1:19 am
(8) saywhat says:

They should call it Kevin Kline syndrome,. I fall asleep on his movies

May 17, 2010 at 11:01 am
(9) elizabeth says:

how in the world does this girl go to school?

May 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm
(10) memory foam says:

That would suck to just sleep your life away like that.

February 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(11) juanita clark says:

I to have a daughter with kevinlevie symdrome,we are afro american and my daughter has been suffering for 7yrs now she is in college now but had been mis diagnoised until now. Most doctors weren’t familiar with and some just thought she was mentally disturb but it wasn’t until this month we found a doctor and neurologist who looked at her serious.So we thank god for these other testomies and to know were not crazy this is real!!!!!!!!!

December 26, 2011 at 5:13 am
(12) cancer1975 says:

My prayers are for the girl to grow out of it if that’s what she wishes. I personally think she’s few of the lucky people in the world that get to sleep through life. When I sleep, I escape from the sorrow and loneliness there is here for me. I wish I could sleep long long long and peaceful like that. God Bless.

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