A mum who suffers from a rare sleep disorder has revealed how she has to take daily naps under her desk because she is so tired.
Amanda Moake claims the neurological condition is so extreme it causes her to nod off while in the middle of a sentence, and can even fall asleep while she is walking somewhere.
The 43-year-old has never had trouble falling asleep, but while she grew up it didn’t send any alarm bells ringing because she just dismissed it as normal for a teenager and busy single mum.
She didn’t realise something was wrong until the age of 33, when she found herself falling asleep during a conversation in bed with her husband Jason.
Amanda then carried on her sentence after waking up moments later – and realised this wasn’t normal.
Eventually the mum-of-two was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, a sleep disorder which causes excess sleepiness in the daytime, no matter how much they have slept the previous night.
The sleep disorder causes assistant furniture shop manager Amanda to have “microsleeps” during the day. This can happen in the middle of dealing with customers, or even in extreme cases while walking or just standing.
Amanda, from DeRidder, Louisiana in the US, explained: “I fall asleep at the drop of a hat.
“What I find with hypersomnia is that you have these microsleeps where I’ll fall asleep but it may only be for a matter of seconds and then I’m right back awake.
“If I’m not actively doing something I’ll fall asleep, like if I’m sitting at my desk all day at work.”
Speaking of a particular time where she fell asleep during a conversation with a customer, Amanda said: “One day I was with a customer sitting at my desk and their financing was taking a little too long on the computer and I fell asleep, which is very embarrassing to be right in front of someone doing something and you just fall asleep.
“When I looked back up I could tell that they were uncomfortable and looking around like ‘what is going on here?’
“I just smiled and tried to act like I did not fall asleep but I definitely did.”
Amanda, who thinks she’s always had the condition, finally saw a doctor about it in 2012 after falling asleep during a conversation.
After initially denying it, she said: “I knew I did but I was trying to play it off because it is weird that you could be telling someone something, fall asleep and wake up and finish telling them.
“When I received the diagnosis, it was enlightening and made me feel a lot better about it.
“It made me feel like there’s a reason that I was this way and it’s not because I’m ‘unmotivated or lazy’ or anything, it’s literally because I can’t help it.”
Amanda, who is a keen marathon runner, visited several doctors and was finally diagnosed aged 33.
Her workplace have been very understanding, and let her have a nap during the day if she’s too tired.
She explained: “If I get too tired, I have to clock out for a little while and lay on the floor under my desk and take a nap.
“Most days I’ll go under the desk. Some days I’ll go out to my car because it’s more private.”
The mum is now keen to raise awareness of the “physically, mentally and emotionally draining” condition, given that strangers often assume she’s lazy or a drug user.
Amanda now takes medication daily which can help her stay awake and alert, meaning she can drive to work.