A woman claimed that she had not slept for the past 40 years. Although sleep is crucial for our health, this woman stated that her sleepless night never affected her daily life. But after seeking treatment from medical experts, she realised that her condition was not what she thought it was all these years.
Do you remember those sleepless nights pushing through the hours to meet the dateline of your final year project? And once you have submitted your assignment, the first thing you will do is go into the much-needed hibernation mode. It only takes a day or two without sleep to begin feeling like a zombie. As much as we cherish our precious shut-eye moments, some people do not experience the same kind of slumber activity at the end of the day.
Meet Li Zhanying, a woman from Henan Province, China, who claimed that she has not slept for the last four decades! The last proper sleep that she can recall was when she was five or six years old. (Source: Bastille Post)
According to Li, the sleepless nights never affect her daily life. She doesn’t feel tired nor sleepy from her condition. Her husband, Liu Suoquin of 20 years marriage, has also vouched for her claim. He shared that it is as though fatigue is not something that she feels at all. Like a superhuman, she works all day, and she is still active at night. There are nights where Liu would find his wife doing house chores in the middle of the night.
Aside from her husband, friends from the same village are also aware of her condition. There was a time when her neighbours did not believe that Li did not sleep, so they would invite her to have a game of cards under the street light in the middle of the night. Everyone became exhausted eventually and went back to sleep, but Li was always the last one standing and still wide awake.
She spends less than 10 minutes of shut-eyes in bed every day. Her husband was worried that Li might have an extreme case of insomnia, and he has tried to medicate her with sleeping pills but to no avail. The married couple sought treatment from doctors too, but the result always showed that there is nothing wrong with her.
It was only when Li and Liu travelled to Chaoyang, Beijing, to seek medical treatment from experts that they finally discovered the truth behind her sleepless nights. Apparently, Li has been sleeping all these years; she just hasn’t been sleeping the same way ordinary people do.
To uncover the mystery, medical teams in the Sleep Respiratory Center strapped Li’s wrists with sensors to monitor her brainwaves for 48 hours. As a result, the doctors found out that Li had slept for 16 hours in total, and she could also chat with her husband during those time.
The doctors described Li's condition as sleeping while awake. It is a condition like sleepwalking where the body parts are active although the person is sleeping, and you don’t necessarily have to close your eyes to be asleep. During the test, doctors discovered when Li was having conversations with her husband; her eyes movement did become slow and starry, indicating that she was napping.
The condition for Li can be a blessing or curse. There might be some who wishes to have all those extra hours to get things done with Li's superpowers. Sure we can imagine some benefits from being seemingly awake and active at all times. The ability to stay active and dormant simultaneously sounds like quite the advantage for the modern age time-consuming lifestyle. Her body can get the rest it needs while she is somewhat conscious and awake. It's pretty cool!
The expert did further explained that Li's condition is a case of poor sleep continuity, but each of her short-term naps is high-quality deep sleep. Coupled with the psychological effects, Li has been able to remain in good spirits and stayed healthy.
Regardless if we have the ability like Li, everyone needs sufficient sleep. The average person who goes through their day without sleep will have difficulty managing daily life. Sleep deprivation can cause a person to lose concentration, hallucinate, affect one's health and in the worst-case scenario, it can also lead to death.
For 40 years, Li has believed that she does not sleep. But the truth is that she has slept for all these years. It is just that she has been sleeping without closing her eyes, and she probably has multiple deep sleep naps without realising it. This shows that nobody can go on with their daily life without sleep, so be sure that you are getting the right amount of sleep your body needs! STAY SAFE!!!