PARASOMNIAS: Sleep inertia or “sleep drunkenness”

PARASOMNIAS: Sleep inertia or “sleep drunkenness”

Sleep inertia is a type of parasomnia or behavioral disorder that is manifested when you awake from sleep. It is also called “sleep drunkenness” and is characterized by a state of disorientation and confusion in time and space when you have awaked. Persons who suffer from it, have some degree of amnesia and its duration can range from several minutes and, rarely, up to several hours.

Who has it?

Sleep inertia is often associated with patients who suffer from sleep apnea, narcolepsy, idiomatic hypersomnia, shift workers or people, who consume pharmaceuticals to get sleep.

It is a very common disorder in the infancy and it is often accompanied by morning headaches and decreased ability to concentrate and/or delayed reactions to external stimuli.

In adults it is rare and it is often associated with forced awakenings caused by ¬†phone calls, alarm clocks, etc. There isn’t predominantly proportion being similar in men and women.


In some cases sleep inertia has been associated with lesions in areas related to the waking centre, but in general, it is completely benign and does not require specific treatment, although it is recommended to maintain good sleep hygiene.

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