Many of us wish we could get more sleep. For those of us who live non-stop lives due to work or parenting (or both), the thought of sleeping for a whole day sounds enticing. However, sleeping all day isn’t always a joy. For some people living with debilitating sleep or cognitive disorders, sleeping all day can be a nightmare. A teenager in Georgia recently shared her story with British magazine The Sun, describing how twenty hours of sleep in a day is the norm for her. What’s a life filled with day in, day out sleep like?

Unfortunately for many with these conditions, not very fun. In the case of 20-year-old Emily Rowland, all of that uncontrollable sleep means many aspects of teenage life are impossible. Rowland was forced to give up her passion of competing in beauty passions and has not been able to attend school in over two years due to her uncontrollable sleeping spells. Her condition has also taken its toll on Emily’s family, who has to watch her 24/7 out of fears that she might die in her sleep.

Rowland was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy nearly eight years ago. Unlike other forms of epilepsy which can cause seizures which involve a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions, Emily’s epilepsy make her fall into a catatonic sleep-like state. Emily says that the condition makes even the easiest activities nearly impossible for her to do alone:

It makes everyday activities so hard. Just trying to get makeup on is tricky – things that other teenage girls do every day with ease. The condition also makes getting dressed difficult. There is video of me literally falling asleep standing up trying to get ready in the morning. It happens in restaurants when I am out with my boyfriend or family. It happened at school. The hardest part is watching the life I had planned slip away. But I will never give up.

Still, Rowland manages to have as normal of a teenager’s life as she can, attending prom and even maintaining a relationship with her boyfriend who calls her “sleeping beauty.”

The next time you wish you could lie around and sleep all day, remember: too much of a good thing can be bad. The body and mind need to sleep, but too much of anything can be bad for you. Get eight hours a night and be happy about it.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician from the mountains of Western North Carolina. Contact him at [email protected]

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