Most parents have to deal with kids who go through stages where they don't sleep very well.
Whether they wake up frequently, have trouble falling asleep, or wake up early in the morning, there's always something. But three-year-old Jessica's parents have to deal with something even worse.
During the day, Jessica is a regular toddler. She plays, talks, laughs and interacts with others just like any other child. But when it's time for bed, something totally bizarre happens to her, and her parents have no idea what to do about it.
Jessica doesn't sleep. It's not that she won't sleep, she simply can't sleep. Her mother Tanya says that, "in the day time, she's aware that everyone else is there and if you spoke to her she would answer you. Whereas at night, it's like you don't exist."
Her daughter isn't just awake, she is laughing, talking and moving around as though she is really interacting with others, but any time her parents try to stop her she doesn't seem to react. While sleepwalking and sleep talking are fairly common, doctors have been stumped for years as to what's been going on.
Tanya has to let Jessica sleep in her bed because she's worried about her safety, but the video she took showing what their sleep schedule is like is enough to keep you up at night...
Jessica has gone through several rounds of testing, prescription medications and exercises to help her sleep, but for two and a half years nothing seemed to change. She has been misdiagnosed with epilepsy more than once, with doctors convinced that it could cause the erratic movements, but nothing could explain her emotive attitude at night.
Jessica's condition was finally discovered when her parents brought her to one of the leading sleep clinics for children called Evelina Children's Hospital. They finally were able to reveal that she suffers from a condition known as 'Eidetic Imagery'.
What this means is that Jessica has what they call a "3D memory" that stores her entire day and essentially makes a virtual world in her mind. Her condition causes her to think that she is playing with her friends and family while she's sleeping, but for her parents it has been a little bit of a nightmare.
At least now that they have a diagnosis, they are able to get the treatment she needs. The doctor responsible for her care, Dr. Gringas, says that, "Jessica knows that once she wakes up, she's got this play scenario she can generate and she can do that in your bed."
The doctors are advising that she goes back to her own bed, so that Jessica can learn to sleep on her own. It's been a rough few years, but at least now the family has some answers!