Sleep Drunkenness ( Confusional Arousals ) – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Sleep drunkness
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We all have experienced in getting drunk. It is the way the alcohol affects our brain that will make us feel dizzy, nauseous and feel sleepy. We tend to forget what happened to us during the peak of our drunken moments. And we wake up wondering how we get to the place where we are at.

We sometimes get confused about the things that we are doing while we are drunk. Drinking is fun as long as we are controlling it to avoid any accidents or any harm to us or to the people we are with. Alcohol abuse can also ruin our health.

If there is a condition about being alcoholically drunk, there is also a condition called Sleep Drunkenness. Sleep drunkenness doesn’t involve alcohol even though the root word of drunkenness is “drunk.” This condition is another kind of a sleeping disorder and it is considered as a parasomnia where only 1 out of 7 people experience.

Sleep drunkenness is a sleep disorder where the person gets confused on what he or she will be doing when she wakes up. Sometimes the person gets confused about the date or where he or she is and even who she is.

“During an episode of sleep drunkenness you are in a state between being in deep sleep and awake. “ –

What causes sleep drunkenness?

There are a lot of reasons why people get to experience sleep drunkenness. Sleep drunkenness is also called Confusional Arousals. It happens during the first stage of your deep sleep. and integrated say that sleep drunkenness happens because you may have too much sleep or less sleep.

Either way, it is unhealthy for the person to have less or too much sleep. There are people who need to watch over their sleeping schedule because if not, they might not be able to get the right amount of sleep that they need.

Another reason why sleep drunkenness happens is that of the constant changing of work shifts. Work shift can destroy the circadian rhythm and can make you unhealthy. The constant change of our sleeping schedule can also be one of the reasons why you get to experience some of the sleeping disorders. It messes up the neurons in your brain and will make you feel confused on your sleeping pattern.

Keeping a constant work schedule is advised. This is why you need to find a job that doesn’t require you to change shifts every month. Find a stabled job that will allow you to focus your work and at the same time watch over your health.

People who have psychiatrical problems tend to experience different kinds of sleeping disorders as well. People who are experiencing bipolar disorder and depression are most likely to experience sleep drunkenness and other sleeping disorders. If you are suspecting that you have a certain kind of psychological disorder, you need to have yourself checked.

This is for you to know what is really going on in your brain. And it can also help you prevent from experiencing the different kinds of sleeping disorders. Anxiety can also cause sleeping disorders. It can also make the condition worse if you develop them in the long run. And according to, psychiatrical disorder and sleep disorder can either come first. It’s a matter of controlling how it blossoms.

Another contributor to sleep drunkenness is alcohol. Too much alcohol content in the body can cause different kinds of sleeping disorders. Most especially the sleep drunkenness disorder. Alcohol has the ability to make you feel light headed and can make you feel drunk in the long run.

There are people who even experience blackouts. This is the episode where you tend to forget things when you are highly intoxicated. And when you wake up, you will experience an extreme headache wondering what happened the night before. If this is your constant lifestyle, you will eventually have sleep drunkenness even if you were not drinking.

So if you decide to grab a bit of booze, take some time and think about the consequences.

How does sleep drunkenness work?

People who are suffering from any psychiatrical disorder are more likely to be affected with sleep drunkenness or any kinds of sleeping disorder. Because this happens when you are half awake and half asleep and can make you feel confused about everything. It will make you feel confused about everything and can sometimes result in violent and hostile behavior.

Sleep drunkenness also happens when you are forced to wake up by an alarm or by your mother or somebody. When you are in deep sleep, you need to be in your zone. You should not allow any disturbance to wake you up so that the sleeping rhythm will not be interrupted.

Your mind is stuck between dream and reality and it is the reason why you are a little bit confused on what is really going on.


If you are experiencing sleep drunkenness, you will only know that you have one if somebody told you and have witnessed your episode. There are a lot of people who are unaware of their condition because most of them are sleeping alone on their own. If you are sleeping alone, here is a list of symptoms of sleep drunkenness.

Don’t know what day it is

One of the most common symptoms of sleep drunkenness is being confused on what day it is. This is because the brain is somehow dreaming while you are experiencing sleep drunkenness. You tend to lose track of the date and the time. There are even people forget and get confused on what year it is. And it takes a few minutes before they will be able to figure out what day it is.

Don’t know where you are and poor memory

There are people who also forget how they get to the place where they are. Getting confused on how you get to your room and slept is another common symptom for people experiencing sleep drunkenness. It is also like when you are really drunk with alcohol and blacking out. You forget how things happen during the day.

Violent, aggressive, agitated

People who tend to be violent, aggressive, and even agitated are the once who were forced to be woken up. Since they are in their deep sleep stage, their body is still in a relaxed mode. And whenever they are forced to wake up they are startled and tend to protect themselves from whatever is happening in their dreams. They get confused even if they are half awake and half asleep.

Confused about everything

Most of the time people get to be confused about everything. They will become the “wonder-man.” Wondering how he got here, wondering why he is there, wondering why he is there and etcetera.


Sleepwalking is another kind of sleep disorder. But it is still associated with sleep drunkenness. It is also one of the symptoms of sleep drunkenness.

Unusual behavior

Unusual behavior will wear off after a few minutes of being awake after a sleep drunkenness episode. People will see a different side of you. You will be a little bit odd that your usual personality and will make people worried about you. But this will only last for a maximum of 15 minutes.

Slow speech

Since sleep drunkenness can cause confusion, it can also cause speech delay or slow speech processing. Because the brain is a little bit hungover from sleep which makes our brains to be a bit sleepy.

It takes a bit of time for our brains to allow us to talk straight. It’s like when you wake up in the morning you still need to stretch your body and go to the bathroom and wash your face.

Blunt responses

It is understandable that when we wake up, it takes time for us in processing information. It will also take a few minutes for us to respond. But if you are suffering from sleep drunkenness, it will take time for you to respond properly.

Our speech is somehow still in the dreamland. And this will make it difficult for us to respond properly. Either we don’t respond or we deliver blunt responses.

Jerking movements

The after effect of sleep drunkenness are jerking movements. And some of the movements are restless leg syndrome. If you are experiencing sleep drunkenness, you will most likely experience RLS or any kind of jerking movements.

Some people tend to wake up from their sleep because they feel like they are falling. Muscle spasm is another kind of jerking movement that they will experience. But these conditions can be treated through therapy and medication.

Brain fog

Brain fog is caused by an active stress response in your brain. Another term for this is foggy head or foggy brain. You will feel as if you don’t want to do anything because you don’t have the energy to do something.

You will also feel tired and your short-term memory is not working the way it supposed to be. Difficulty in thinking and focusing is one of the effects of brain fog. And all of the effects of brain fog are associated with sleep drunkenness.

How do we treat sleep drunkenness?

Get a healthy sleep

To treat all kinds of sleeping disorders is to get a night of healthy sleep. A lot of people tend to sleep late and sleepless. Some of them oversleep which is no longer healthy for the person.

Sleeping for at least 6 hours and sleeping for a maximum of 8 hours is advisable and is also considered as a healthy sleep. Doing good sleep hygiene can also improve your quality of sleep.

Avoid alcohol

Even though alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it will also make you awake. If you fall asleep when you are drunk, be sure that you are asleep all throughout.

Because the effect alcohol will make you stay awake when you are already up. It borrows your sleepiness which makes you feel sleepy when you are intoxicated. If you want to get a night of good quality sleep, avoid too much alcohol.

Avoid daytime naps

Daytime naps will keep you awake during evenings and it can also cause brain fog. Since you stretched out your sleeping hours, you then have made your waking hours longer.

And it will be difficult for you to fall asleep at night. And your circadian rhythm is now messed up. It will then lead to other kinds of sleeping disorders.

See your doctor

If you think your symptoms of sleep drunkenness are already consistent, it is time for you to see your doctor. There are doctors who specialize in sleep disorders.

Having yourself checked is one way getting to know the main reason why you are experiencing it. Most of the sleep disorders are linked to the degeneration of neurons. Have yourself checked to see what is really going on so that the doctor will be able to instruct you on what you need to do.

Take antidepressants if needed

Anti-depressants can help make you sleep comfortably at night. It has the ability to calm your brain and your muscles down so that you will get the good quality of sleep that you need.

Sleep medication

Sleep medication or sleeping pills is another kind of medication that you can take. This is to keep you sleep at night and as well as prevent other sleeping disorders from happening. Sleeping pills can help you be in deep sleep even if there are minor interruptions, you will not be awakened.

Cognitive-behavior therapy

Cognitive-behavior therapy is handled by a group or by one-on-one. According to, Cognitive-behavior therapy focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns. This good for people suffering from a psychiatrical disorder and sleep disorders. And it takes 12 to 16 weeks of therapy to completely overcome their situation.

Relaxation techniques

Mind and body relaxation techniques can help calm you down. This can also be good at getting the good night sleep that you really need. Yoga, breathing exercises, and mental imagery are few of the common relaxation techniques that you can learn. After a few sessions of these techniques, you will be able to learn how to sleep properly at night.

How to prevent sleep drunkenness ?

Preventing sleep drunkenness is easy. Not unless you are undergoing a certain kind of medication and you really need to stick to it. One of the simplest ways you can do in preventing sleep drunkenness is to live a healthy lifestyle. It is the only thing that you can do to prevent all kinds of diseases.

Whether it is physical health or mental health, you need to take extra care of it. Keeping yourself physically healthy and eating the right kinds of foods will help you live a longer life. You will also get the right kinds of nutrients from the healthy foods you eat.

Another way of preventing sleep drunkenness is to stay away from stress. Stress can ruin your entire health status. Because the mind will affect the entire body and can make good bate to all kinds of diseases. If you can’t avoid stress all you need is to handle it properly. People who live longer can face their stress in a wise way.

This is one way to keep the mind healthy and be able to live a longer life. We have different ways of handling stress. And if you want to live a stress-free life, face it smartly so that you will not overthink about it.

Sleep drunkenness is another kind of sleep disorder. Its symptoms may seem like any other kinds of sleeping disorder. But if you leave it untreated, it may become something worse. Most especially if you are having a certain kind of condition that results in sleep drunkenness.

Have yourself checked as soon as you experienced a single symptom. And let everyone in your family be aware of their condition so that they will not be in shock. If you wake up and got confused about anything or everything, just remember to stay calm. Seeing the doctor as soon as possible is the best way to know the root cause of your condition. They will also give you some tips and medication or therapy if you need it.

Getting a good night sleep is what we aim to have every night. But you can’t do that if you are suffering from a sleep disorder.

The tips above can help you cope with sleep drunkenness. Learn how to control it by getting a good night sleep and learning more about your condition. You are the only key to making yourself feel better.

Listen to whatever your doctor tells so that you will be able to have a good quality sleep at night without disturbing your partner. Because they are the ones who are looking after you when you get confused when you wake up. But if you are alone, just remember to stay calm and keep yourself from acting weird.

Article References:


Written by: Dr. Zack Garcia

Dr. Garcia is one of the prominent doctors in field of sleep related disorders. He is also one of the writers for many online publications like Sleep Education and Sleep Research Foundation, focusing on the different kinds of Parasomnias and other related sleep disorders. He is awarded for is research in Work Effect of Insomnia.

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