- Lynne Hughes has been diagnosed with narcolepsy and cataplexy
- She falls asleep up to six times each day and drifts into a dream-like state
- 33-year-old’s sleep episodes often triggered by laughing or crying
- Broke husband Richard’s nose after punching him in her sleep
- Mother-of-two has been robbed twice as she lay paralysed in the street
Lynne Hughes, 33, suffers the rare sleep disorders narcolepsy and cataplexy. She falls asleep suddenly up to six times a day often collapses in the street
Waking from her sleep-walking state, Lynne Hughes was horrified to discover she had punched her husband in the face, breaking his nose.
But the mother-of-two’s outburst was not intentional or malicious.
The 33-year-old is a diagnosed narcoleptic, and falls asleep without warning up to six times a day.
She has woken to find she has sprayed Mr Muscle cleaning products on vegetables while cooking dinner and has come round to find she’s made herself a sandwich.
But for Mrs Hughes, who also suffers the related sleep disorder cataplexy, her illness has a serious side.
Cataplexy causes a sufferer’s muscles to completely relax, rendering a person unable to move, while remaining fully conscious.
And twice while lying paralysed and helpless in a cataleptic state the street, she has been targeted by heartless thieves.
Although she couldn’t move, the 33-year-old felt hands raiding her pockets, removing her bank cards and mobile phone, while they pretended to help her.
The conditions leave her prone to acting out her dreams as she sleep walks around the family’s home in Mold, Flintshire.
The bath has been removed, to prevent Mrs Hughes falling asleep in it, and she has stopped using a kettle.
She said her ‘life-changing’ sleep episodes are often triggered by laughing or crying.
She no longer goes out alone and never carries more than a few pounds in cash in her bag.
She said: ‘It’s changed my life completely.
‘On a couple of occasions I’ve been robbed. Remember, I can’t move but I am still aware so I can feel their hands going into my pockets.
‘It happened in Chester in about 2008 and then in Connah’s Quay three years ago.
‘It was people pretending to help me but really they took my bank cards and phone out of my pockets.
‘I knew what was happening but couldn’t do anything as the more stressed I got the worse the cataplexy got.
‘I do not go out alone now.’
Narcolepsy, which affects about 30,000 people in the UK, can cause excessive sleepiness and affects the brain’s ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle.
Cataplexy is a co-existing condition which brings on episodes of muscular weakness triggered by strong emotions such as laughter, anger and surprise.
In Mrs Hughes’ case it causes her to regularly collapse, often after she has been laughing or crying.
‘I’ve had to have my bath taken out because I wasn’t safe to use it. I can’t use a kettle either,’ she said.
‘My husband makes me a drink and puts it in the thermos flask.’
Mrs Hughes has had many bad experiences in public when she collapses in uncomfortable or unfortunate places.
She said: ‘People will step over me if I fall down in Tesco.
The mother-of-two, has woken from an episode to find she has punched her husband Richard, pictured, in the face, breaking his nose. And the 33-year-old has also sprayed Mr Muscle cleaner on vegetables while cooking dinner for her family. She said: ‘It can be quite dangerous’
WHAT IS NARCOLEPSY?
Narcolepsy is a condition that affects around 0.05 per cent of a population.
In the UK that equates to around 31,000 sufferers.
It is a rare sleep disorder, which affects the brain’s ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle.
It can cause symptoms including a disturbed night’s sleep as well as excessive tiredness during the day.
Normal sleep falls into a regular pattern of REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM stages.
Every 90 minutes or so, a normal sleeper experiences several minutes of REM sleep, where dreaming occurs.
They then switch back to non-REM sleep.
But, for narcoleptics, their sleep pattern is much more fragmented.
This causes them to wake up regularly.
In addition, REM sleep can come on very quickly during the day and night, producing dream-like hallucinations.
Cataplexy is an episode of muscular weakness triggered by strong emotions such as laughter, anger and surprise.
The loss of muscle tone ranges from a just-perceptible weakening of the facial muscles through weakness at the knees, to total collapse on the floor.
Speech is slurred, eyesight impaired (double vision, inability to focus) but hearing and awareness remain undisturbed.
Attacks often last less than two minutes, and they may only last a few seconds.
Some people have repeated attacks of cataplexy which persist for up to 30 minutes.
During both mild and severe attacks, the person stays fully conscious.
Cataplexy may be most severe when the subject is tired rather than fully alert and can lead to considerable anxiety although anxiety itself is not a trigger.
It is thought that about 75 per cent of patients with narcolepsy have cataplexy.
Source: Narcolepsy UK
‘The narcolepsy makes me do other strange things as well. I’ll fall into automatic behaviour.
‘My brain will cycle in and out of a sleep state and my body will carry on going, so I’ll wake up to find I’ve made a sandwich.
‘I have no fine motor skills though so I’ll have put about a pound of butter and a whole chunk of cheese on a slice of bread.
‘It can be quite dangerous too – I once sprayed our vegetables for dinner with Mr Muscle instead of Frylight oil, but my husband noticed in time.’
The 33-year-old was formally diagnosed in 2009, but suspects her condition dates back longer than that.
‘When I was a teenager I’d start sleeping between lessons and my friends would wake me up on a rota,’ she said.
‘I just thought I was tired but looking back I realise that was part of it.
‘I’m basically the text-book worst-case scenario. I had to do away with the bath because I’d sink down and I could feel myself start to drown but I couldn’t do anything about it.
‘My husband used to have to be in the bathroom to keep an eye on me.’
Mrs Hughes hopes her story will help raise awareness of the conditions she lives with.
‘You either curl up and feel sorry for yourself or get on with it,’ she added. ‘My cataplexic episodes are triggered by strong emotion.
‘I can have a fall if I start crying or fall if I laugh. There’s no warning. My little boy calls it a ‘splat’.
‘During milder episodes my speech will slur.
‘When I had my little boy in January 2007, during the pregnancy I fell down a lot.
‘I lived in a maisonette with two sets of stairs and every check up I’d come in with a bruised hand, a bruised head or another bump.’
After visiting a number of different specialists and doctors, some of whom mistook her condition for fatigue and depression, Mrs Hughes finally recognised her condition as being narcolepsy when she was watching a documentary.
She said: ‘I just thought, “that’s me.”
‘I went to my GP and was referred to a sleep centre in Aintree. I was diagnosed within a few months.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2986313/Sleep-walking-woman-broke-husband-s-nose-single-punch-sprayed-Mr-Muscle-cleaner-family-dinner-acting-dreams.html#ixzz3Tvgk6f23Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)