Imagine waking up and not remembering anything and feeling confused, tense, or with a sense of an adrenaline rush. If you have experienced such feelings, you may have had an episode of sleep drunkenness.

Sleep drunkenness, also called confusional arousal, is a sleep disorder that describes feelings of sudden action or reflex upon waking up.

Read below to learn more about sleep drunkenness and how to deal with it.


Sleep drunkenness symptoms may include the following:

  • startled reflexes
  • confusion upon being awoken
  • blunt responses
  • physical aggressiveness without remembering it happened
  • slow speech
  • poor memory or feelings of amnesia
  • brain fog during the day
  • difficulty concentrating


The main causes of sleep drunkenness may be related to factors that affect your sleep, such as sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, as well as general sleep deprivation.

Some other factors that can trigger sleep drunkenness include the following:

  • anxiety disorders
  • drinking alcohol
  • work schedule
  • changes in mood
  • stress and worries


There is no single treatment for sleep drunkenness. Your doctor may recommend some of the following:

  • getting a full night’s sleep
  • avoiding alcohol, especially right before bedtime
  • taking antidepressants as prescribed
  • avoiding daytime naps

When to see a doctor

While confusional arousal or sleep drunkenness doesn’t necessarily require treatment, you might want to see your doctor if it’s causing dangerous side effects. These can include:

  • missed work
  • frequent daytime naps
  • sleeping on the job
  • persistent insomnia
  • waking up tired
  • problems in your relationships
  • injuries to yourself upon waking up

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and health history to determine if any testing is needed.

Wrapping up

Sleep drunkenness is a common event. If you’re feeling aggressive, confused, or find it hard remembering anything upon waking up, then you might have had an episode.

Seeing your doctor is the first step towards the betterment. To schedule an appointment, call San Ramon Urgent Care at 209-983-9000. 

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