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Sleep Inertia: What Is It and How Does It Affect You

Feeling dizzy after waking up? Fret not, you are not the only one. 

Most of us experience a groggy feeling as soon as we wake up. We take some time to be fully aware of our surroundings and get ready to take up tasks (even if it is just talking!). This feeling is a state between sleep and being completely awake and is called sleep inertia. 

Let’s dive deeper into what this phenomenon means and how to manage it.

What is Sleep Inertia?

Sleep inertia is a condition where you experience dizziness after waking up because parts of your body are still in a sleep state.

According to HuffPost, the brainstem arousal system, a part of the brain, dictates how we function physically. This becomes active as soon as we wake up, but the PFC or prefrontal cortex takes time to kick in.

The PFC is what supervises cognitive functions, such as decision-making and self-control. Because PFC takes time to be activated, our reaction time, our alertness, our ability to carry out analytical work is slow when we just wake up from our sleep.

Sleep inertia meaning mild dizziness mostly in the morning has another name: sleep drunkenness. As the name suggests, it is a layman term that describes confusional arousal. Basically, it’s a period of confusion that infests the mind of an individual while it transits from sleeping to awakening.

While this groggy feeling after waking up from a good night’s sleep might not sound like a serious issue, getting prone to this condition will eventually lead to a drastic reduction in cognitive perception.

Now let us learn how to recognize the onset of this condition through its symptoms.

What are the Visible Symptoms of Sleep Drunkenness?

The symptoms of this sleep condition can last from 15 minutes to four hours, depending on how sleep deprived you are. You might as well be feeling dizzy after waking up for the entire day if you have been neglecting your sleep or if you are suffering from insomnia, or sleep deprivation.

Have a look at some visible symptoms of sleep inertia that are prominent in Indians:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness after waking up
  • Reduced cognitive perception
  • Grogginess in the morning
  • Reduced spatial awareness
  • Impairments in visual prowess
  • Longingness for longer sleep cycles

Having understood its symptoms, let us now learn about the demons responsible for this condition.

Causes of Sleep Inertia in Adults

Mostly, there are three determinants that cause this sleep condition. If there is an increase of delta waves in the brain or improper blood circulation rules your body, you may experience grogginess. Let’s take a closer look at the determinants in detail:

1. Delta waves: 

Your brain functions through the transmission of electric waves. An increased frequency of delta waves in the brain gives rise to the condition. And you get a dizzy feeling.

2. Slower functioning prefrontal cortex:

Your PFC is responsible for your motor awareness. If your PFC response time is higher, that means you will experience prolonged durations of grogginess in the morning after waking up.

3. Improper blood circulation:

Blood circulation is paramount for the proper functioning of your body. That’s because blood carries oxygen to the cells and tissues of your brain and is essential for proper motor coordination. 

Treatment for Sleep Inertia

This sleep condition is mostly curable without any medication. With just a few changes in lifestyle, you can treat it easily. Plus, they are natural procedures that don’t involve any synthetic medication. Have a look at some home remedies to treat your sleep problems:

1. Caffeine:

Having a cup of coffee or popping caffeinated gum can work wonders in alleviating the groggy feeling you experience after waking up.

According to a study, caffeinated gums helped night workers in staying vigilant during their late-night shifts. 

2. Power Naps:

Some experts suggest that minute changes in your sleep cycle can help alleviate the murky feeling you experience due to sleep drunkenness. Integrating 20 to 25 minutes of sleep in between your daily schedule helps in alleviating the symptoms of sleep inertia.To improve the quality of your naps we suggest you opt for the best pillow for sleeping as per your preferences & requirements.

3. A Good Mattress:

One of the ways to sleep better is by investing in a good mattress. The Wakefit Orthopaedic Memory Foam Mattress is a medium-firm mattress that is both durable and comfortable.

It distributes your bodyweight uniformly so that no pressure points are created in your neck, shoulders, and hips. Your spine is also not bent unnaturally, preventing postural defects.

It also incorporates a CoolFit foam with an open cell structure that absorbs the body heat of the sleepers and circulates it instead of trapping it. Therefore, you will sleep cool on our Ortho mattress. Orthopaedic mattresses are also known as the best mattress for back pain.

Parting words

If you experience grogginess in the morning, it’s best to start implementing the home remedies or visit a doctor at the earliest. Although not fatal, it can lead to a reduced cognitive perception if prevalent for a prolonged time.

While simple home remedies like consuming caffeine, taking power naps or using a good mattress are prominently effective in alleviating its symptoms, it is advised to consult a doctor if you have been experiencing it for a long time now.


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