Effects of Sleep Inertia as Debilitating as a Couple of Martinis
> 1/11/2006 11:16:24 AM

Researchers at the University of Colorado are the first to have quantified sleep inertia, otherwise known as that groggy period after you wake up but before you've had your morning coffee.  Surprisingly, they found that the effects are more debilitating than sleep deprivation and often as bad as being legally drunk. 

Subjects in the study were monitored for several days, receiving at least eight hours of sleep each day.  Immediately upon waking researchers provided the subjects with a basic quiz that asked them to add two randomly generated two digit numbers. 

Lead researcher Kenneth Wright said. "We found the cognitive skills of test subjects were worse upon awakening than after extended sleep deprivation. For a short period, at least, the effects of sleep inertia may be as bad as or worse than being legally drunk."

Those that look to be immediately effected by this research are individuals who often awake from sleep and are asked to perform complicated or dangerous tasks.  This might include doctors and surgeons, emergency workers like fire fighters or soldiers in the battlefield. 

The CU study found that the effects of sleep inertia were the strongest for the first three minutes after awakening and were usually gone after ten minutes or so.  But in some cases, the negative effects of sleep inertia were shown to linger for up to two hours. 

I'm glad that someone finally figured out why I physically need to hit my snooze button at least 4 times. 

Quotes courtesy of University of Colorado: press release.

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