Ever found yourself so confused upon waking up that it takes you a couple of minutes to re-orient yourself? Ever got awakened suddenly by your alarm and instead of turning it off, you answer it like it’s a phone call? Or ever found yourself clueless as to where you are the moment you open your eyes? While most of us will find occurrences of this kind to be sort of funny, the person who suffers severe confusional arousal may beg to differ. Aside from the panic that could easily take over, imagine starting your morning so confused and slowly recovering only to be on a bad mood the whole day.
Referred to as ‘sleep drunkenness’, experts from Stanford University has recently taken a closer look to what this is about. Also known as ‘confusional arousal’, the condition is commonly characterized by “waking up with extreme confusion, disorientation, and sometimes amnesia.” Researchers note that this sudden wakening may actually jolt a person’s body, but its brain cognition may still be left less responsive. According to studies, 1 in every 7 people experiences great confusion after being woken up suddenly, which is way more than the number of narcolepsy sufferers.
What makes sleep drunkenness a problem is that it can last from less than five minutes to fifteen minutes, depending on the person. This, of course, means that recovery is required, and that at least some minimal supervision is required for sufferers. Operating heavy machineries is also strongly discouraged while going through an episode, as it can be quite dangerous, not only for the sufferer, but for the others in the vicinity as well.
Aside from the dangers confusional arousal may pose, there’s also a risk of having a more serious sleeping disorder underlying this condition. According to researchers, waking up extremely confused can be a symptom of another health issue. Studies also suggest that it can be a clear manifestation of sleep deprivation, which is an entirely different serious case in itself.
So how do you know if you’re suffering from sleep drunkenness? It’s easy really, as this condition is pretty straight forward. If you ever find yourself extremely confused upon sudden awakening and you can’t function properly instantly, then you may be suffering from confusional arousal. If you’re lucky, it may just be a bout of poorly transitioning from your dream to reality, continuing whatever it is that you’re doing in your sleep upon waking up.
Experts say that there’s not much to worry about sleep drunkenness, though, especially if you’re usually around other people upon waking up. However, if you’re really interested in dealing with the issue at hand, seeing a doctor is still the best option available.