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Chronobiol Int. 1993 Apr;10(2):109-18.

Sleep inertia: best time not to wake up?

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Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA 92186-5122.


Sleep inertia is a brief period of inferior task performance and/or disorientation immediately after sudden awakening from sleep. Normally sleep inertia lasts < 5 min and has no serious impact on conducting routine jobs. This preliminary study examined whether there are best and worst times to wake up stemming from circadian effects on sleep inertia. Since the process of falling asleep is strongly influenced by circadian time, the reverse process of awakening could be similarly affected. A group of nine subjects stayed awake for a 64-h continuous work period, except for 20-min sleep periods (naps) every 6 h. Another group of 10 subjects stayed awake for 64 h without any sleep. The differences between these two groups in performance degradation are expected to show sleep inertia on the background of sleep deprivation. Sleep inertia was measured with Baddeley's logical reasoning task, which started within 1 min of awakening and lasted for 5 min. There appeared to be no specific circadian time when sleep inertia is either maximal or minimal. An extreme form of sleep inertia was observed, when the process of waking up during the period of the circadian body temperature trough became so traumatic that it created "sleep (nap) aversion." The findings lead to the conclusion that there are no advantages realized on sleep inertia by waking up from sleep at specific times of day.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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