Sleep inertia: Best time not to wake up?

Paul Naitoh, Tamsin Kelly, Harvey Babkoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sleep inertia is a brief period of inferior task performance and/or disori-entation 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalChronobiology International
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1993

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment: The authors acknowledge the valuable assistance of S. Gomez, L. Irwin, L. Matteson, S. Hauser, A. Lopez, and J. Bower in the collection and analyses of data. This study was supported by the Naval Medical Research and Development Command, Bethesda, Maryland, Department of the Navy, under Work Unit 63706N MOO96 002.6002.

Funding

Acknowledgment: The authors acknowledge the valuable assistance of S. Gomez, L. Irwin, L. Matteson, S. Hauser, A. Lopez, and J. Bower in the collection and analyses of data. This study was supported by the Naval Medical Research and Development Command, Bethesda, Maryland, Department of the Navy, under Work Unit 63706N MOO96 002.6002.

FundersFunder number
Naval Medical Research and Development Command63706N MOO96 002.6002

    Keywords

    • Circadian rhythms
    • Cognitive performance
    • Sleep
    • Sleep deprivation
    • Sleep inertia

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