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Sleep Drunkenness | Are You Feeling Bleary and Confused in The Morning?

Stress at work, dietary changes and lack of physical fitness affects your overall health and well being. The stressors at work and lack of sleep have made us vulnerable to different types of sleep disorders. Sometimes due to these issues the body beats the brain especially when you wake up in the morning. Such an instance leaves a person in a confused, fuddled state known as sleep drunkenness or confusional arousal.

If you’ve ever woken up confused, or had trouble talking, not knowing where you currently are or tried to answer the phone on hearing your alarm clock sound, then you’ve experienced sleep drunkenness. But, don’t worry as you’re not alone. According to a study recently published by the Neurology reveals that there are many people around the universe that inhabits this out-of-focus condition.

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A recent survey of over 15000 adults in the US reveals that more than 14 percent of individuals had experienced sleep drunkenness or confusional arousal in 2013, many of them even experienced multiple episodes in just one week. These episodes were mainly linked with panic disorder, sleep deprivation, use of antidepressants and use of over-the-counter sleeping pills.

Possible Causes of Sleep Drunkenness

Waking Up Confused?

For most people, and particularly if you experience sleep drunkenness once in a while, there is nothing to worry about. But if you are one who experiences confusional arousal more than once or more frequently in one week, then it could signal symptoms of undiagnosed sleep disorder. It could also be a symptom of sleep deprivation, because the symptoms of sleep drunkenness were found to be most common in people who’d had less than 6 hours of sleep in a week. Or it could be that you had more than 10 hours of sleep; previous studies and research programs reveals that sleep drunkenness is also common with people who usually regularly sleep for more than 9 hours.

Features of Sleep Drunkenness Episodes

According to a study, the most common features of sleep drunkenness episodes were:

  • About 34 percent – Difficulty thinking or speaking clearly
  • About 57 percent – Temporospatial disorientation
  • About 36 percent – Hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations
  • About 20 percent – Confused behaviors
  • About 9 percent – Had no memories of the episodes
  • About 15 percent – Nocturnal wandering

Relationship with Sleep Disorders

Having other types of sleep disorders was one of the most common causes of experiencing confusional arousal episodes. Individuals with the following sleep disorders usually experienced more than 1 episodes of sleep drunkenness in a week:

  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorder
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Hypersomnia
  • OSA or obstructive sleep apnea
  • Insomnia

Overall individuals suffering from any type of the above sleep disorders experienced more sleep drunkenness episodes than normal individuals.

Impact of Other Health Disorders

Few individuals suffering from the following psychiatric disorders also experienced episodes of sleep drunkenness:

  • Alcohol dependence and abuse
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Anxiety disorders

Having Multiple Sleep Drunkenness Episodes? Consult A Doctor

When to Consult a Doctor?

Sleep drunkenness is also common in children, but they usually grow out of it. However, if an adult experiences episodes of confusional arousal, and if the episodes occur multiple times in a week and continue for a long period, it may be a warning of an underlying sleep problem or mental health condition and so should be immediately brought to the attention of a sleep specialist.