Sleep Inertia: What it is, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Sleep inertia, according to the textbook definition is a physiological state which is present immediately after awakening in the morning. It causes a toll on the cognitive and sensory-motor performance just after you wake up.

In the layman’s language it is the feeling of heaviness and exhaustion that makes you feel all weak. low alertness, confusion, behavioral disorders are all because of sleep inertia.

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Have you ever had that feeling?

Don’t worry if that has happened to you in the past, It’s normal.

But, yeah, prolonged or frequent dizzy mornings could be a thing to worry about.

If there’s a lot of disruption and troubles caused by it, seeing a doctor would be a good option.

It want to know what causes it and the treatment?

Let’s have a look at the symptoms first:

The Symptoms are pretty much normal, the same weakness, confusion and a lot of rubbing your eyes to get out from the dreams and step into the reality.

So basically, the first 20-30 minutes (precisely 30 as per research) of every person’s morning.



Do you remember being suddenly awakening and feeling a head rush?

Sleep Inertia is caused by sudden awakening during REM sleep which is a rapid eye and bodily movement phase.

The electrical waves in the brain which are associated with deep sleep are found to be on the higher end in the people with sleep inertia.

Also, according to research after the sudden waking, the reactivation of certain parts of the brain is particularly slow.

The primary toll is on the prefrontal cortex region which is responsible for the executive function.

Read: Best sleeping position for good quality sleep




How can you treat it?

There are some home remedies you can try which is something everyone does to get up and running just after waking up.


1. Tea or Coffee


  • Coffee or Tea as the Indians like it.
  • Caffeine can help you get rid of some effects of sleep inertia.
  • If you don’t like any of the above you can try caffeinated gum
  • According to a study About Sleep Inertia
  • Caffeinated gum alleviates most of the effects of sleep inertia and is effective in ameliorating the reaction speed.

3. Improving Sleep Cycle


  • If we improve our sleep cycle, the duration of sleep inertia will gradually start decreasing. The improper sleep cycle is one of the major reasons why you face prolonged sleep inertia.
  • Too little or too much sleep both are factors of improper sleep cycle, if you feel you have sleep inertia and it’s lasting longer than it should, you should try maintain a proper sleep cycle.


3. Water Splash


  • Putting up a splash of cold water can be of help as well
  • It will help you get rid of the drowsiness and the sleepy feeling


4. Adrenaline


  • Adrenaline will tend to stimulate the central nervous system and will result in improved concentration, focus and wakefulness, and the boosting effect that directly impacts your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • These remedies won’t be as good as the medications prescribed by the doctor, but sometimes in cases when the situation is not critical, doctors recommend the above remedies.

So, now to the part that is most important

How dangerous is sleep inertia?

Sleep Inertia in the initial stage is not dangerous.

It is very normal, because it’s similar to what every person feels after waking up, but the prolonged version of it could be a thing to worry about.


Read: 5 things to do when you cant fall asleep


If the symptoms do not leave the body within 30-120 minutes and it’s happening regularly, it might be best to visit a doctor.

Once diagnosed with Sleep Inertia, the regular intake of medications and the above practices will be enough to treat it.

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