We’ve all had days that leave us aching to climb into bed. But for one Atlanta woman, the desire to hit the hay was much more powerful. “If I don’t go to sleep right now, I will literally not survive,” Anna Sumner told TODAY. “My bed was my home.”
Sumner has a type of hypersomnia, a sleep disorder that involves excessive daytime sleepiness, just recently discovered by researchers at Emory University’s sleep clinic. Hypersomnia is different than just feeling fatigued during the day, HuffPost reported. People with the sleep disorder have trouble functioning, and may be more likely to fall asleep while driving, for example.
Sumner slept up to 18 hours a day before taking a leave of absence from her job as a lawyer. Emory researchers found that she, along with 31 other patients, seem to produce a substance in the body that acts similarly to anesthesia, according to research recently published in Science Translational Medicine. To counter-act the disorder, Sumner has been taking a pill form of a drug typically used to help surgery patients wake up.
She’s the only patient taking the drug daily — and may not have the meds for much longer. “I was existing before treatment, but I wasn’t living,” she told TODAY. Watch the video above to find out what lies ahead for Sumner’s treatment.
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