Sleep Drunkenness


Definition - What does Sleep Drunkenness mean?

Sleep drunkenness is a sleep disorder that is characterized by an abrupt or immediate waking from deep sleep (slow-wave) cycles where individuals display symptoms of confusion, lethargy, incoherent speech, memory lapses, and lack of focus. Also known as confusional arousals, sleep drunkenness disrupts sleep inertia, a physiological function where a gradual transition from sleep to wakefulness occurs.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Drunkenness

Persistent episodes of sleep drunkenness can result from behavioral or physiological circumstances including substance abuse and sleep deprivation that interrupt otherwise normal sleep patterns. A physician will assess an individual via medical history facts to determine if any underlying psychological factors including anxiety, depression, and stressors contribute to ongoing sleep drunkenness. Furthermore, medical evidence indicates that primary sleep disorders including restless legs syndrome (RLS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) represent causal factors of sleep drunkenness episodes that require polysomnography (sleep study) testing for a diagnosis.

In the workplace, individuals with rotating shift schedules are more likely to demonstrate inconsistent work habits that adversely influence job performance due to sleep drunkenness. Employees with track records of absenteeism, chronic fatigue, irritability, and taking unauthorized naps can undercut morale, hamper productivity, and compound the incidence rate for accidents/injuries. Consequently, companies encounter liabilities where workers’ compensation claims to cover disabilities create an economic downturn.

A polysomnogram is the benchmark method for individuals experiencing sleep drunkenness, which may also indicate their candidacy for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. Sleep studies provide demonstrative evidence by measuring important physiological aspects including bioelectric activity, breathing rate, eye and limb movements, and blood oxygen levels during circadian rhythm cycles. Moreover, lifestyle changes that include a regular bedtime schedule and a sleep environment that caters to good sleep habits can deter sleep drunkenness.

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