New Condition When Waking Up Referred To As 'Sleep Drunkenness'

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:39:13-04

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - When it comes to sleep, Americans are suffering. About 70 million of us have a chronic sleep problem. Now there’s a new sleep condition that you may not have heard of – sleep drunkenness.

Most of us need a few minutes to get going.

Dr. Maurice M. Ohayon is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the director of the Stanford Sleep Epidemiology Research Centre School of Medicine.

He said if you wake up very confused and out of sorts, you could suffer from “sleep drunkenness.”

“Sleep drunkenness is, in fact, mental confusion that is occurring when the subject is awakened from the deep phase of sleep,” he said.

Ohayon studied more than 19,000 adults and found sleep drunkenness affects about one in seven Americans. About 84 percent of people who had the disorder had other sleep problems, a mental health condition or used antidepressants. In severe cases, he said patients can injure themselves or others.

“The subject can have a violent answer to the people around him,” said Ohayon.

People who have been sleep-deprived or those who over-sleep are most likely to suffer from sleep drunkenness. It can happen after a long snooze or a short nap. Ohayon said it often takes several minutes or more for symptoms to go away.

“They must know that they should give five minutes minimally to the people to recuperate from the nap,” he said.

Treating other sleep problems has shown to help sleep drunkenness. Make sure you talk to a doctor so you can wake up clear-minded and ready to go.

About one-third of patients with sleep drunkenness have had symptoms for more than 15 minutes. Most of the time, they could not remember the incidences afterwards, but sleep drunkenness can be dangerous.

Ohayon said in an extreme case, the condition caused a man on a ship to fall to his death.