A mother of three who says her online shopping habits while sleeping nearly drove her to a life in debt has finally received a diagnosis for the disorder. Kelly Snipes claims her complaints were initially dismissed as stress or overtiredness and, in addition to costly shopping, her sleepwalking at one point caused her to accidentally overdose on medication.
“When I was 20 weeks pregnant, I took an overdose in my sleep,” Snipes, whose symptoms worsened following the birth of her first son, told SWNS. “Because I am diabetic I have to take medicine for it and I overdosed on metformin. I was having a dream that I was speaking to the doctors and I kept saying that I didn’t want to take the medicine anymore — but when I woke up, I had taken all the tablets. Luckily everything was OK, but I was so worried that social services would get called.”
Snipes, of Essex, said that she had a history of sleepwalking as a child, but that her symptoms became more severe as an adult. She said the stress of not knowing what might happen while she was asleep, and the potential danger it could pose to her children and husband, caused her to become even more exhausted.
“I didn’t feel like I could be a mom or a wife,” she told SWNS.
After being turned away from several doctors, Snipes wrote directly to two consultants who took on her case. She was reportedly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and parasomnia. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder but not relatively uncommon. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start in patients during sleep, disrupting the sleep pattern and causing exhaustion in patients. The second diagnosis, parasomnia, refers to abnormal things that can happen to people while they sleep, apart from sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Patients may experience sleep-related eating disorders, sleepwalking, nightmares, sleep paralysis, REM sleep behavior disorder or even sleep aggression. In treating her sleep apnea, Snipes said her parasomnia symptoms have subsided.
“When I had the CPAP machine I felt rested and re-energized for the first time in ages,” Snipes, who once purchased a full-sized basketball court in her sleep, told SWNS. “It really has given me my life back.”