A Stanford University School of Medicine study suggests that “sleep drunkenness” may affect one in every seven people. As reported via the American Academy of Neurology, sleep drunkenness occurs when, during or following arousals from sleep, people are confused or perform inappropriate behavior, such as answering the phone instead of turning off the alarm.
According to the article titled “Are confusional arousals pathological?“, the episodes occur either during the first part of the night or in the morning. An episode, often triggered by a forced awakening, may even cause violent behavior during sleep or amnesia of the episode. “These episodes of waking up confused have received considerably less attention than sleepwalking even though the consequences can be just as serious,” said study author Maurice M. Ohayon, M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D., with Stanford University School of Medicine.
“For the study, 19,136 people age 18 and older from the general U.S. population were interviewed about their sleep habits and whether they had experienced any symptoms of the disorder,” writes Nauert. “Participants were also asked about mental illness diagnoses and any medications they took. The study found that 15 percent of the group had experienced an episode in the last year, with more than half reporting more than one episode per week.”
Among those who had an episode, 37.4% reportedly also had a mental disorder. People with depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, panic or post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety were more likely to experience sleep drunkenness.