Have you ever answered the phone in the morning to discover it was actually your alarm clock going off, or had a conversation in the middle of the night and woken up the next day with no recollection of it? ‘Sleep Drunkenness’ Is Common and Linked to Other Behavior and Safety Issues at Work!
The study, in the journal Neurology, says one in every seven people suffer from sleep “drunkenness” disorder, also called confusional arousal. Severe morning sleep inertia tends to happen every morning, and it can last for years.
People with morning sleep inertia may miss time and perform poorly at school or at work. It also can be a source of conflict at home. In rare cases it can cause injuries and drowsy driving accidents.
Confusional arousal is when a person wakes up and remains in a confused state for a certain period of time before either going back to sleep or fully waking up. Confusional arousals are characterized by the affected person briefly seeming to wake up, sit up, and even look around. They typically remain in bed and return to sleep soon thereafter. The episode lasts from seconds to minutes, and they may not be responsive to stimuli.
Technically, confusional arousals fall into the category of parasomnias. These disorders include many abnormal behaviors that occur during or around sleep. They typically arise from non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This deeper, slow-wave sleep is more prevalent in children, which might explain why they more often experience parasomnias. These episodes typically happen, according to the National Institutes of Health, when someone is awakened during non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is a deeper sleep period. And they’re usually triggered by a forced awakening, like an alarm or phone call.
Confusional arousals is a sleep disorder that causes you to act in a very strange and confused way as you wake up or just after waking. It may appear that you don’t know where you are or what you are doing. Your behavior may include the following:
- Slow speech
- Confused thinking
- Poor memory
- Blunt responses to questions or requests
When a confusional arousal occurs, you may seem to be awake even though you have a foggy state of mind. Episodes often start when someone else has to physically wake you up. Sleepwalking or shouting during an episode is common. Some people with confusional arousals also grind their teeth. These incidents may last a few minutes up to several hours. People with confusional arousals tend to have no memory of these episodes.
Confusional arousals are considered a parasomnia. This class of sleep disorder involves unwanted events or experiences that occur while you are falling asleep, sleeping or waking up.
Confusional arousals tend to occur as you wake from slow-wave sleep. This sleep stage is most common in the first third of the night. In some cases, these episodes may occur later in the night or during a daytime nap.
In some rare cases, adults may act very inappropriately or even hostile and aggressive. This behavior can put a huge strain on relationships. These extreme episodes are uncommon for most people who have confusional arousals.
Episodes of confusional arousals in children may seem bizarre and frightening to parents. The child can have a confused look on his or her face and “stare right through” you. Children may become more agitated when you try to comfort them. Most episodes last from five to fifteen minutes. But they may last as long as thirty to forty minutes in some youth.
“You can hurt yourself physically, hurt someone (else). You wake up irritable and possibly violent.” He compares it to waking up in a hotel room – you don’t know where you are or what hour it is, so your reaction or responses to the environment are not adapted.
Confusional arousals are more likely if you have a relative with this sleep disorder. Other factors that can increase your risk for arousals include:
- Rotating shift work
- Night shift work
- Other sleep disorders (hypersomnia, insomnia, circadian rhythm sleep disorders)
- Not enough sleep
- Bipolar and depressive disorders
Potential causes for this disorder include the following:
- Recovery from sleep deprivation
- Alcohol consumption
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
- Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD)
- Psychotropic medication use
- Drug abuse
- Being forced to wake up
The Other Causes Of Confusional Arousal Disorders
Psychotropic medication use
Consumption of alcohol
Recovery from sleep deprivation
In truth 84% of those with sleep drunkenness disorder also had another sleep disorder, a mental health disorder or were taking psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants. Less than 1% of the people with sleep drunkenness had no known cause or related condition.”If you are getting less than 6 hours a night, and you are having confusional arousal, then the first thing you need to do is try getting more sleep,”.