A woman slept for twenty years

She woke up as young as she was when she fell asleep. Six months made her 20 years older

The beginning of this wonderful story is not likely to shock anyone. A young woman was living in one of the industrial residential areas of the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrosvk. The residential area was located close to the by-product coke plant. The walls of the buildings collect dark soot, and the air is filled with the smell of hydrogen sulphide. The memories of her childhood and youth are not good either. Her family was dispossessed by revolutionaries in the 1930s, her husband died during WWII, and she lost her child as well.

After WWII was over, she remarried and gave birth to a baby girl. The new husband liked to drink, so there were a lot of quarrels in their house. After one of these quarrels, Nadezhda Lebedina cried and cried and then she fell asleep. This happened back in 1954. Nadezhda woke up twenty years later, in 1974. She doesn’t remember a thing of what was happening to her during that really long period of time.

An ambulance took Nadezhda to the psychological hospital that was attached to the Medical Institute of Dnepropetrovsk. The doctors could not wake the woman up. They had to put her on life support.

No pathological changes were found during the medical examination of the patient. Her pulse was a bit weaker, and her temperature was a bit lower than usual. Doctors referred to a similar case, which was described by academician Pavlov.

He was watching patient Kachalkin, who spent 20 years of his life sleeping. The sleep was not deep; Pavlov wrote that the patient could get up and sit sometimes, keeping his eyes closed. Kachalkin suffered from a very serious form of schizophrenia. Sleep became a reaction to the illness. This incident caused Nadezhda Lebedina’s doctors diagnose the same illness: schizophrenia. Lebedina’s case history was destroyed. It is impossible to find out how Lebedina’s condition developed. We know only one thing. Nadezhda’s mother lost all hope after four years of her daughter’s sleep. She made the doctors examine her, and then she took her home.

Years went by. Nadezhda's mother became older and she could not take care of her sleeping daughter. Nadezhda’s daughter Valentina grew up and then decided to have another medical examination. The doctors came to conclusion that she was absolutely healthy. They said that maybe it would be better to take her to a disabled people’s house, but when they said that, Nadezhda started sobbing. Valentina was scared, and she took her mother to her sister’s house.

She woke up several years later. Nadezhda Lebedina was taken to the hospital of psychological illnesses of the Medical Institute of Dnepropetrovsk. At first, Nadezhda could not believe that she slept for twenty years. She was certain that she fell asleep yesterday. She just said that her dream was not very good; there was something unpleasant about the whole time.

It is amazing, but it took her only two weeks to get use to her new life. She recognized her daughter, who had already become a young woman.

Doctors of psychology spent a lot of their time with her, but they did not manage to confirm the previous diagnosis. When Nadezhda woke up, she looked as young as when she fell asleep. However, she was growing old very fast afterwards. A spokeswoman for the Institute said: “I could see her getting old in front of my own eyes! Every new day was marked with new wrinkles, and her hair was becoming gray. The biological clock was working very fast. She left our hospital in six months, and she looked her 54 years.”

Most of all, the doctors were very surprised with the fact that Nadezhda had no bedsores at all. American doctors from Wisconsin University used a special bed with an air mattress. The bed was used for a patient who fell asleep for eight years after a cranial injury.

It is strange that such a unique case was never exposed to the public eye, not even in the world of medicine. Nadezhda Lebedina is still living in the city of Dnepropetrovsk. She leads a usual life for an elderly woman.

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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