Meet Sleeping Beauty Syndrome

Sleeping beauty syndrome is scientifically called Kleine-Levin syndrome. This is a rare disease that manifests itself initially in adolescence or early adulthood. In it, the person suffers periods in which he spends days sleeping, which can vary from 1 to 3 days, waking up irritated, agitated and eating compulsively.

Each sleep period can vary between 17 to 72 hours in a row and when you wake up, you feel drowsy, returning to sleep after a short time. Some people still experience episodes of hypersexuality, this being more common among men.

This disease manifests itself in periods of crises that can happen 1 month a month, for example. On other days, the person has an apparently normal life, although his condition makes school, family and professional life difficult.

Kleine-Levin syndrome is also called hypersomnia and hyperphagia syndrome; hibernation syndrome; periodic drowsiness and pathological hunger.

How to identify

To identify sleeping beauty syndrome, you need to check the following signs and symptoms:

  • Episodes of intense and deep sleep that can last for days or average daily sleep over 18 hours;
  • Waking up from this angry and still sleepy sleep;
  • Increased appetite upon waking;
  • Increased desire for intimate contact upon waking;
  • Compulsive behaviors;
  • Agitation or amnesia with decreased or total loss of memory.

There is no cure for Kleine-levin syndrome, but this disease apparently stops showing crises after 30 years of life. But to make sure that the person has this syndrome or another health problem, tests such as polysomnography, which is the study of sleep, as well as others such as electroencephalography, brain magnetic resonance and computed tomography, must be performed. In the syndrome, these tests should be normal but are important to rule out other diseases such as epilepsy, brain damage, encephalitis or meningitis.

Causes

It is not clear why this syndrome developed, but there is a suspicion that it is a problem caused by a virus or changes in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls sleep, appetite and sexual desire. However, in some reported cases of this disease, a non-specific viral infection involving the respiratory system, specifically the lungs, gastroenteritis and fever was reported before the first episode of excessive sleep.

Treatment

The treatment for Kleine-Levin syndrome can be done with the use of lithium-based drugs or amphetamine stimulants during the crisis period to make the person have regularized sleep, but it does not always have an effect.

It is also part of the treatment to let the person sleep as long as necessary, just waking him up at least twice a day so that he can eat and go to the bathroom so that his health is not impaired.

Usually, 10 years after the onset of episodes of exaggerated sleep, the crises cease and never appear again, even without any specific treatment.