A young girl from who falls asleep for months at a time has been dubbed a real-life ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
Beth Goodier from Stockport was only 16 when she had her first deep sleep episode, not waking properly for six months.
For 22 hours a day, all Beth did was sleep, managing to wake for a couple of hours but remaining in a dream-like trance.
At the time, her mother Janine assumed the worse: that she had a brain tumour or haemorrhage, and Beth was rushed to hospital.
But all tests drew a blank.
Her condition baffled medical staff until a doctor remembered a colleague who had dealt with a similar case.
At the time, Beth, who lives in Manchester, had just recovered from tonsillitis, and her medical team suspects the illness was the trigger.
Aged 22 now, she is one of more than 100 young people in Britain diagnosed with Kleine-Levin syndrome (KLS) – which is also known as Sleeping Beauty Sydrome.
However, it’s hardly a fairytale for these youngsters – who are essentially sleeping through the best years of their lives.
It’s been five years since her first episode, and according to her mother, Beth’s been asleep for almost 75% of the time.
In the short moments when Beth is awake, she has to eat and drink enough to maintain her health, while juggling time with her boyfriend Dan – they met during one of her ‘awake’ phases three years ago.
On the rare occasions she manages to leave her home to see a doctor, Beth requires a wheelchair because she is too tired to walk.
KLS is one of the medical world’s incredible mysteries, with little known of its triggers or a potential cure.
What is known is that it mainly hits teenagers — the average age it strikes being 16 — and lasts around 13 years.
Beth is currently two-and-a half months into another deep sleep episode – and nothing will wake her.
Her mother, who gave up her job to look after Beth full-time, describes her as ‘night and day’.
‘She might wake up tomorrow and then it’s a race against time to live the life she should have had. She rushes off to catch up with her friends and get her hair done. But no one knows when she might fall asleep again.
‘It breaks my heart to see the best years of her life slipping away.’