Is Sleep Inertia A Serious Issue? Causes And Countermeasures

Lifestyle & Balance Curious Facts
Sleep Inertia 938
Sumit Bedi
27 January 2021

Author Bio

Sumit Bedi

How many times have you woken up, all groggy and moody after a nap? You would be feeling like a cyclone hit you and you don’t know what to do about it. That is exactly what sleep inertia is all about. In simple words, it is the feeling of being tired, disoriented, and heavy. While some people experience sleep inertia only for a short amount of time, others experience it for a longer period of time. This is known as prolonged sleep inertia. In fact, people who experience a bout of severe morning sleep inertia are more prone to be at higher risk for confusion when there in a state known as sleep drunkenness.

What is the treatment?

If this sleep inertia of yours is severely causing troubles in your life, then you ought to consult a doctor. You may or may not need to undergo treatment, depending upon your doctor’s diagnosis. Also, you might have to change the lifestyle that you currently undergo, that is for instance, you may have to reduce or eliminate alcohol intake. You also have to realize that sleep inertia is dangerous. Just ignoring it will not do you any good. If you do not receive accurate treatment in time, it can lead to lower productivity in the first part of your day, reduction in memory, being late for important events, etc.

What are the countermeasures?

Luckily, for most people, sleep inertia is not so dangerous that they have to consult a doctor. But if you want to get rid of it. There are a few home remedies that could help.


If you are who is already driven by beverages like coffee or tea, then you are on the right path. Caffeine has the ability to make you feel awake and energized. Research shows that consuming caffeine can be good to solve sleep inertia, but drinking it more than often can disrupt your regular sleeping schedule.


Light Exposure

If you are exposed to sunlight or a similar form of light while waking up, studies show that this can help you in waking up completely. It may help you feel more alert and better equipped to perform tasks you have at hand.

Sleep Stage Alarm Clocks

Your regular alarm clock will not know what stage of sleep you are in while it wakes you up. It will just do the job that it is programmed to do, not knowing if it is causing sleep inertia or not. To cure it, another thing that can be done is to use sleep stage alarm clocks. These ‘smart’ alarm clocks are aware of their user’s sleep patterns and will wake you during optimal stages of sleep. By doing so, will ward off the problem of sleep inertia and will play a significant role in your life as well.

What causes sleep inertia?

Some causes of sleep inertia are

Higher levels of delta waves

Delta waves are found in the human brain and are linked to sleep. Researchers have found that people suffering from sleep inertia have higher delta waves and lesser beta waves, which are associated with wakefulness.

Slower brain reactivation

 Sometimes, sleep inertia can be caused due to our brain activating slowly. The pre-frontal cortex of our brain especially may be slow, and that is the part that results in a human doing productive activity.

Slow blood flow in the brain

After waking, when there is a lag for the blood to flow to the brain, that can also cause sleep inertia.

So, if your sleep inertia doesn’t affect you that much, and only happens once in a while, there’s nothing for you to worry about. That may be just a temporary lapse that happens to you once in a while. However, if you feel like that can create problems in your productivity, you could first try out some remedies like drinking caffeine, scheduling a short nap, waking up to lights, etc. Try these remedies, and if you still feel that the issue is persisting, visit a doctor.

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