Rachel Lane has ordered everything from air horns to a prom dress – but she has no idea she’s bought them until they turn up because of a rare sleep condition.
The 27-year-old baker, from Maine, U.S., has narcolepsy, meaning she falls into a very deep sleep very suddenly.
She has fallen asleep at funerals, concerts and in the middle of conversations.
But one of the biggest problems is that she has managed to shop in her sleep.
She explains: ‘A package came to the bakery and when I opened it, it was a prom dress. I’m 27 years old and definitely wasn’t going to prom.
‘I didn’t remember ordering it but I checked my bank and email and I definitely had. I must just think I deserve a treat now and again.
‘I’ve ordered household items like a block of butchers knives, chopping boards and dog toys. I’ve probably spent around £300.
‘I mostly order from Amazon. I think my brain is still active when I’m sleeping so it starts doing things that I would normally do while awake, and my credit card is already set up.’
Rachel first started to suffer from sleepiness when she caught a virus after she was scratched by a cat in 2015.
She said: ‘I never felt the same. I was always tired, even more than usual.
‘I couldn’t drive two miles down the road without dozing off. I’d have to have a nap or get out of the car and walk around for a bit.
‘I didn’t know what narcolepsy was at that point. I just thought it was because I was ill.’
Rachel went to see a sleep specialist in 2016 because she was injuring herself during the night while sleepwalking, who gave her an explanation for her tiredness.
Rachel also suffers with hallucinations when she falls asleep, and has adopted a rescue dog, Lewis, a four-year-old pitbull, to help comfort her.
Rachel said her mechanic husband, Andrew, 32, tries to support her but doesn’t understand the severity of her condition.
She said: ‘Before I was diagnosed, my doctor suggested a sleep partner to be with me to stop me from sleepwalking because it was becoming dangerous.
‘I was obsessed with my mouth and I would jab anything on the roof of it until it was bleeding, like metal straws.
‘My sister in law caught me jabbing knives and pens into the mattress once so I bought a dog to help wake me up and now if I go into a state of paralysis, he lays on top of me to keep me safe.”
Rachel said family and friends struggle to understand her condition and why she is often so tired.
She said: ‘I’m super open about it but no one wants to educate themselves. It’s really frustrating.
‘They don’t understand why I get so cranky when I’m tired.
‘Andrew tries to be supportive but he doesn’t quite grasp how hallucinations can affect me. If I get upset, he’ll say it’s ok, it’s just a dream but it’s not.
‘I always explain my life of narcolepsy as like how Alice felt when she fell down the rabbit hole.
‘Hallucinations seem so real and leave me distraught. I have a cupcake tattoo on my wrist that says ‘eat me’. It’s my narcolepsy warrior tattoo.’
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