5 Facts About Sleep Drunkenness

It affects one in every 15 people

A recent study, published in the journal Neurology, has found that a disorder called sleep drunkenness affects one in every 15 people. Researchers say the consequences of sleep drunkenness can be as serious as sleep walking, but the disorder gets much less attention.

The disorder involves confusion and inappropriate behavior

The disorder is characterized by inappropriate behavior, such as answering the phone instead of turning off the alarm, saying nonsensical things, and sometimes even violent behavior, during or following arousals from sleep. It is especially pronounced when people are woken suddenly. Amnesia of the episode is also common.

Some people have other disorders, too

Researchers looked at 19,136 people in the U.S., and interviewed them about their sleep habits, sleep disorders, mental illness diagnoses and medications they took. They found that in 37.4 percent of sleep drunkenness cases, the person also had a mental disorder. People with depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, panic or post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety were more likely to experience the disorder.

Many are taking medications

Researchers found that about 31 percent of people with sleep drunkenness were taking psychotic medications, such as antidepressants. They also found that only about 1 percent of people with sleep drunkenness had no known cause or related condition.

It affects long and short-term sleep

About 20 percent of the participants getting less than six hours of sleep per night, and 15 percent of those getting at least nine hours experienced sleep drunkenness. In addition, people with sleep apnea were more likely to have the disorder.

The HealthCentral Editorial Team
Meet Our Writer
The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.