A WORCESTER woman who has to fight every day to stay awake will be sleeping in for charity.

April-Scarlett Lee, from Warndon Villages, was first diagnosed with narcolepsy, a rare sleep disorder affecting less than one per cent of the population, when she was 13.

Symptoms of the disorder include daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, sleep paralysis and automatic behaviour.

Since then the 27-year-old has had to take various medications just to keep her awake, and she has also become involved in various campaigns to raise awareness of the disorders.

"People don't understand what narcolepsy is. So for National Sleep Awareness Week (March 2-8), I'm taking part in a sponsored Sleep In for 48 hours over Friday, Saturday and Sunday to raise money for Project Sleep, which raises awareness of the disorder. My childhood sleep buddy, Sonic, will be joining me," she said.

"Excessive daytime sleepiness is basically forever feeling like you need to sleep. I can be having a conversation, reading a book, or just walking around and suddenly I'll just fall to sleep. People who don't know anything about narcolepsy will just assume I'm being lazy, I'm bored or that I'm even drunk. If I try to stay awake it can physically hurt to fight against sleep. With cataplexy your body gets paralysed and you drop to the floor, and this is triggered by emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger or shock. I've collapsed in town and people have just stepped over me."

The Sleep In is the first event of its kind organised by Project Sleep, and it challenges people to stay in bed for 12 to 48 hours to raise awareness and money for the Project.

Project Sleep educates people using events, campaigns and programs to teach about sleep disorders and how vital sleep is to maintaining good health.

To sponsor Miss Lee, click here.

To find out more about the fundraiser visit project-sleep.com/sleepin.