Can't Sleep Kid

2009, Health  -  47 min Leave a Comment
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Jessica is 3 1/2 years of age. By day, she's a delightful and well behaved child who enjoys playing with her parents and brother. But when nighttime falls and she drifts to sleep, she assumes a different reality altogether. Carrying on imaginary conversations, gesticulating wildly to people who aren't there, and calling out random words and phrases, she's clearly suffering from some kind of severe sleep disorder. Her condition has befuddled even the most seasoned experts in the field of sleep study. Can't Sleep Kid follows Jessica and her family as they struggle to find answers and reverse the tide of sleep deprivation that's wrecking havoc on her young life.

The unusual behaviors began when Jessica was just 11 months old. When they occur, she is completely immersed in her fantasy world and does not respond to outside stimuli. One specialist after another has been unable to discern whether she's suffering from insomnia, night terrors, full-fledged hallucinations, or an entirely new type of sleep disorder.

Whatever the cause, Jessica's disorder poses a serious threat to her health and development. As she nears school age, she could potentially suffer from low energy, cognitive delays, and behavioral issues. Her condition has also impacted the quality of her parent's lives. Afraid their daughter might inadvertently hurt herself during one of her nighttime episodes, they keep her in their bed where they can keep a close watch on her. This deprives them of the sleep they need to properly function during the day, and it also hinders any opportunities for intimacy.

The last hope might be found at the Evelina London Children's Hospital, a highly acclaimed medical facility that houses the world's foremost pediatric sleep specialists. Assisted by an assortment of electronic devices and watchful night cameras, they work to diagnose and treat Jessica's puzzling condition. If they can pinpoint the triggers of her episodes, they might be able to restore her ability to sleep peacefully through the night.

Can't Sleep Kid is a moving portrait of one family's struggle in the face of an elusive illness, and a fascinating look inside the mysteries of the human condition.

Directed by: Amelia Hann