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1 in 7 Experience Sleep Drunkenness, Study Suggests

Update Date: Aug 25, 2014 07:19 PM EDT

One in seven people experience "sleep drunkenness," a new study suggests.

Researchers noted that sleep drunkenness disorder involves confusion or inappropriate behavior. People in this state could answer the phone instead of turning off their morning alarm. Sleep drunkenness, which is often triggered by forced awakening, often occurs during or following arousals from like through the first part of the night or in the morning.

Researchers said this is important because sleep drunkenness can sometimes cause violent behavior during sleep or memory loss.

"These episodes of waking up confused have received considerably less attention than sleepwalking even though the consequences can be just as serious," researcher Maurice M. Ohayon, MD, DSc, PhD, with Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, CA, said in a news release.

The latest study involved 19,136 people aged 18 and older from the general US population were interviewed about their sleep habits. Participants were also asked about whether they had felt any symptoms of the disorder as well as they're mental health and medication use.

The study revealed that 15 percent of participant had experienced an episode of sleep drunkenness in the last year.

Researchers found that 84 percent of people with sleep drunkenness had a sleep disorder or were taking psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants.

"These episodes of confused awakening have not gotten much attention, but given that they occur at a high rate in the general population, more research should be done on when they occur and whether they can be treated," said Ohayon. "People with sleep disorders or mental health issues should also be aware that they may be at greater risk of these episodes."

The study is published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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