Rare but True: Sleeping Beauty or Kleine Levin Syndrome

sleeping -493503106Kleine Levin Syndrome (KLS) or Sleeping Beauty Syndrome is a rare neurological condition characterized by recurring periods of excess sleep.  It is estimated that 1000 people worldwide are diagnosed with the disorder.  Adolescent boys are primarily affected but a small percentage of adults and small children (male and female) are also known to suffer from this condition.

KLS symptoms occur in episodes that can last for days, weeks or months.  During each episode, an individual can sleep from 12 to 20 hours a day- only waking to eat and use the bathroom. A person can experience anywhere from two to 12 episodes per year.   Symptoms that occur during wakefulness include:

  • Mood changes
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Child-like behavior
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Excessive eating
  • Hypersensitivity to noise and light

These symptoms prevent individuals from leading a normal life. Most are bed ridden and unable to attend work or school. The frequency of KLS episodes tend to decrease with age, there is a possibility that they can recur later in life.

The cause of KLS is unknown but it is believed that it may be the result of a malfunction of the hypothalamus and thalamus (the parts of the brain that regulates sleep, body temperature, sex drive and appetite).

There is no cure for KLS but treatment is available to alleviate symptoms.  Doctors may prescribe stimulants to reduce excessive sleepiness.

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