Have You Ever Experienced Sleep Drunkenness?

   |  Updated: November 27, 2014 10:25 IST

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Have You Ever Experienced Sleep Drunkenness?
While sleep disorders have become one of the most common lifestyle concerns, a new research suggests that one in every seven people may be suffering with something called sleep drunkenness.

Have you ever woken up confused and lost, not knowing where you are? If that sounds familiar, you must pay attention. Sleep drunkenness is a condition that involves confusion or inappropriate behaviour such as answering the phone instead of turning off the alarm due to sudden arousal from sleep. It is an episode often triggered by forced awakening during which one may behave strangely. Like sleep walkers, people may be unaware of what they are doing and not even remember it later.

After a brief bout of detachment one may restore to normality in a short while but in certain cases it may last for long. It is commonly referred to as 'confusional arousal', the feeling of disorientation or amnesia that one may experience on waking up suddenly. In severe cases it may even lead to violent behavior.

A recent study was conducted at Stanford University's School of Medicine where 19,136 people aged 18 and older were interviewed about their sleep habits and whether they had experienced any symptoms of the disorder. (More: Worst foods that ruin your sleep)

The findings were published in the journal Neurology. It concluded that 15 percent of the group had experienced such an episode in the last year. Besides this, over half of the participants were reported to have experienced this episode more than once in a week.84 percent of people with sleep drunkenness also had other sleep disorders or were taking psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants. Among those who had an episode, 37.4 percent suffered with a mental health disorder. Less than 1 percent of the people with sleep drunkenness had no known cause or related condition.

Researchers claimed that the amount of sleep may also play a role in putting you at a risk of developing this disorder. It was noted that who slept more or less than the ideal seven to eight hours, experienced sleep drunkenness. The amount and quality of sleep may sometimes trigger such situations but if it happens frequently one needs to consult a doctor to find out the underlying cause. (More: What to eat to sleep better?)

According to study author, Maurice M Ohayon, "These episodes of waking up confused have received considerably less attention than sleepwalking even though the consequences can be just as serious. People with depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, panic or post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety were more likely to experience sleep drunkenness. People with sleep disorders or mental health issues should also be aware that they may be at greater risk of these episodes."

Sleep drunkenness has not officially been classified as a disorder but the fact that it is becoming more common these days, calls for further analysis regarding its causes, effects and treatment.

With inputs from IANS


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