Sleep Inertia: How To Overcome Grogginess And Stay Awake During The Day

Last Update on September 22, 2023 : Published on September 23, 2023
What is Sleep Inertia

Do you wake up feeling groggy all the time, or does the grogginess stay throughout the day or resolve after 30-40 minutes of waking up? Well, most wake up feeling groggy, and it’s a normal thing which is referred to as sleep inertia. Sleep inertia can be defined as a temporary period when we feel groggy right after waking up. The feelings of grogginess include disorientation, mood swings, slow responses, and memory lapses. 

Now, coming forth to my question again… how long does it take to get rid of sleep inertia after waking up? If it’s more than 30-40 minutes, read this blog to understand how sleep inertia is impacting your mental well-being and how to get rid of sleep inertia. 

List of Contents

What is Sleep Inertia?

What is Sleep Inertia

Sleep inertia is a term used to refer to morning grogginess. Specifically, it is used to refer to a state wherein we’re no longer asleep but not awake as well, it’s mid-state wherein we’re trying to get back to normal. Sleep inertia can also be referred to as “sleep drunkenness.” Now the question comes in, is it normal to have sleep inertia? 

Research shows that it’s common to experience morning grogginess or sleep inertia. Some people wake up feeling refreshed meanwhile; some take a few minutes to get back to reality. Generally, sleep inertia passes between 30-40 minutes and it is considered to be a normal thing among adolescents. However, if it stays for longer periods (for example more than 2-3 hours), it can depict that you’re being sleep deprived. 

In most cases, sleep inertia resolves on its own but there are some situations when sleep inertia keeps on getting worse especially when you’re sleep-deprived or when your sleep cycle is not regular. If you think you or your loved one might be struggling with severe sleep inertia, there might be a possibility of sleep disorder. 

Symptoms of Sleep Inertia 

Symptoms of sleep inertia can be different for different personalities. Additionally, the symptoms of sleep inertia depend on the severity and intensity of the issue. Below are some of the common symptoms of sleep inertia: 

  • Disorientation 
  • Feeling drowsy 
  • Feeling slow 
  • Grogginess
  • Lack of attention or weakened vigilance 
  • Lack of decision-making skills 
  • Mood swings 
  • Reduced cognitive functioning 
  • Reduced performance or the ability to complete tasks on time or accurately 
  • Reduced short-term memory 
  • Slow response or reaction time 
  • Strong desire to sleep again 

Causes of Sleep Inertia 

Research shows that there can be different causes behind the development of sleep inertia such as: 

1. Higher levels of delta waves:

Electrical waves in the brain help in achieving deep sleep. When the delta waves get higher, it can result in morning grogginess. Accordingly, fewer beta waves can result in wakefulness. 

2. Reduced brain reactivation:

Research shows that when there’s slower or reduced reactivation in the brain, it can result in morning grogginess. 

3. Reduced blood flow in the brain:

When there’s reduced blood flow in the brain, it can result in sleep inertia.  

4. Sleep deprivation:

Sleep deprivation can be a major cause behind sleep inertia, if you’re going late to bed regularly, it can result in chronic sleep deprivation and this always results in sleep inertia. 

5. Disrupted circadian rhythms:

Circadian disorders can put you at the risk of developing sleep inertia especially when you’re at low circadian. 

6. Idiopathic hypersomnia:

If you’re sleeping for more than 12 hours, it can cause idiopathic hypersomnia which can also result in severe symptoms such as confusion, amnesia, and more. 

Tips to Get Rid of Sleep Inertia 

Tips to Get Rid of Sleep Inertia

1. Establish a regular and strict bedtime routine:

Establishing a strict and regular bedtime routine will help you unwind and relax. During this time, you can also try listening to calming music or switching to sleep apps effective for improving your overall well-being. 

2. Try digital detox before stepping into bed:

Before having dinner, try avoiding digital devices so that you can unwind and focus more on achieving sleep. You can also try these effective tips for falling asleep faster

3. Avoid drinking coffee:

Avoid caffeinated beverages before stepping into bed. 

4. Avoid alcohol or smoking:

Do not consume alcohol before bedtime as it can disrupt your sleeping pattern. 

5. Eat nutritious meals:

Focus on consuming nutritious meals and eating healthy snacks before bedtime. You can try consuming milk, tart cherries, or snacks that promote sleep. 

6. Plan extra time for morning grogginess:

If your sleep inertia is constant or becoming severe day by day, you can try going to bed before bedtime and wake up before time so that you can plan extra time for grogginess and avoid getting late to work or school. 

7. Drink coffee after waking up:

Caffeine can be really good for getting rid of sleep inertia, you can also try herbal tea or other caffeinated beverages in the morning.  

8. Make your sleep priority:

If you’re sleep deprived, make your sleep a priority and practice good sleep habits such as relaxation techniques, maintaining room temperature, and others.  

9. Get tested for sleep disorders:

If you’re dealing with severe sleep inertia, you must connect with your health professional and get yourself tested for sleep disorders. 

Quick Takeaway: Quick Home Remedies to Get Rid of Sleep Inertia

  1. Try yoga to wake up and feel refreshed. 
  2. Try aromatherapy for instant stress relief and sleep. 
  3.  Take a cold shower right after waking up. 
  4. Try the sleep military method for instant sleep. 
  5. Practice sleep sleep-syncing trends for better sleeping. 
  6. Try sleep gadgets to improve the overall quality of sleep. 
  7. Try guided sleep meditation to improve overall well-being. 
  8. Learn about sleep therapy and try it. 
  9. Splash water on your face after waking up. 
  10. Expose yourself to a bright light or sun after waking up. 
  11. Improve your sleep environment and maintain room temperature. 

Related Read: Natural Home Remedies for Good Sleep 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why do I never wake up feeling rested?

It’s quite common to wake up feeling groggy sometimes, and generally, sleep inertia resolves after 30 minutes. If it’s regular, you must work on achieving deep sleep or try sleep hygiene to wake up refreshed and well-rested. 

Is sleep inertia a disorder?

No, sleep inertia is not a disorder and, in most cases, it’s quite normal to experience morning grogginess. But if it’s excessive and consistent, you must connect with your health provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Does drinking coffee help with sleep inertia?

Yes, you can consume coffee after waking up to lower sleep inertia symptoms. 

Is it normal to wake up feeling groggy?

Usually, when people wake up from deep sleep, they feel groggy and morning grogginess can be a normal thing if it generally resolves within 30-40 minutes or if it is not impacting your wellbeing. 

How long does sleep inertia generally last?

Generally, sleep inertia lasts for 30 minutes but sometimes, it can also exceed to 1or 2 hours, if your sleep inertia keeps on becoming severe, you might be sleep deprived and you must calculate your sleep cycle to improve the quality of sleep. 

Can sleep inertia be severe?

In some cases, sleep inertia can be severe and depict the presence of sleep disorder. In such cases, connect with your health provider or calculate your sleep cycle. 

How do I know if I am getting enough sleep?

According to the research, the right amount of sleep is around 7-8 hours. If you’re going to sleep on time, waking up feeling refreshed and performing activities regularly, you might be getting enough sleep. 

Is sleep inertia in children normal?

Sleep inertia in children is normal like in adults. However, if sleep inertia in children is excessive and regular followed by confusion and grogginess throughout the day, there could be a possibility of sleep disorder or any other mental health issue. In such cases, connect with your health provider. 

I hope this blog helps you understand what sleep inertia is and how to get rid of sleep inertia. Comment down and share “What remedies do you try to get rid of morning grogginess or sleep inertia?” 

For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms. 

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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