Do you ever feel heavy and groggy when you wake up? If so, you may be suffering from Sleep Inertia. Sleep inertia can last from 1 minute to 4 hours, but typically lasts 15-30 minutes. During this period, you are at a reduced level of capacity and may have trouble doing even simple everyday actions. Tests of simple arithmetic ability have found people are often 5 standards deviation below the average during the sleep inertia period.
Usually people fully “wake up” in a half hour at most. For many, the morning routine of a shower or making coffee helps them through the inertial sleep inertia period.Many factors are involved in the characteristics of sleep inertia. The duration of prior sleep can influence the severity of subsequent sleep inertia. Although most studies have focused on sleep inertia after short naps, its effects can be shown after a normal 8-hour sleep period.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 found that severe morning grogginess can be more dangerous and debilitating than staying up all night. They’re both dangerous, of course, but it is important that people with bad grogginess do something to remedy it before they get behind the wheel. The mental handicap caused by sleep inertia can be substantial, and such measurements as reaction time in those with inertia can be comparable to those of drunk people.
Exercise is a good way to fully wake up. And coffee or other caffeinated beverages do many people a world of good. Drowsy driving is a major public safety hazard and something we at Tuck are trying to fight. Do everyone a favor and make sure you are awake before starting the car.
Sleep Tip #329: Are you suffering from sleep inertia?