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Study: Waking Up Like Being Drunk 417

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-off-the-sleep-goggles dept.
Ant writes "CNN reports that "sleep inertia" leaves some people so groggy, after they wake up, they might as well be drunk, researchers said on Tuesday. "For a short period, at least, the effects of sleep inertia may be as bad as or worse than being legally drunk," said researcher Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado at Boulder."
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Study: Waking Up Like Being Drunk

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  • by yobjob (942868) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:00AM (#14452770)
    I didn't get smashed last night, I just wake up drunk, honest!
    • by thermopile (571680) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @08:38AM (#14453110) Homepage
      No way. I don't buy it, not one iota.

      When I'm drunk, I have this irrational and very strong urge to hook up with whatever woman looks strikingly attractive in the room. Raging ball of hormones.

      When I'm waking up? are you kidding? I'm usually annoyed that the ugly troll of a thing sleeping next to me (who was strikingly attractive last night) has the nerve to have her arm draped over me.

      Way, way different.

      • How did that song go?

        "She's looking good after NINE Coronas!"
      • When I'm waking up? are you kidding? I'm usually annoyed that the ugly troll of a thing sleeping next to me (who was strikingly attractive last night) has the nerve to have her arm draped over me.

        One of those nights where you go to bed with Bo Derek and wake up with Bo Diddley.

    • Sorry, officer, I wasn't drinking. I was just taking a nap behind the wheel.
  • by Burning1 (204959) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:01AM (#14452777) Homepage
    So remember folks: If you fall asleep while driving it's very important that you don't attempt to wake up.
  • Its just like... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saggi (462624) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:02AM (#14452782) Homepage
    Its just like sitting and waiting for a new post on slashdot, and then quickly trying to write something usefull, witch actually ends up rather stupid.

    According to this research we should not allow post for at least 3 min after a new entry on slashdot.

    I think this entry proves my point.
  • Just one of the reasons why I choose to shower in the morning rather than in the evening.
  • Wha....? (Score:5, Funny)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo . c om> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:05AM (#14452796) Journal
    Shorry, I dinnt unnerstan that. Where's my damn coffee?

    I have this stupid little dog that keeps waking up at night and yipping with this ear-piercing yelp. Something about taking a piss. I hate that little dog. Damn activists would have me in jail if I shot her, though.

    So where's that coffee? Oh, here it is. Ahh.

    Wow, what a stupid post. Better not press Submi...
  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@nosPAm.jmaug.com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:05AM (#14452797)
    So if you drink a lot before you go to sleep, and you wake up drunk, the two effects cancel each other out. So drink heavily every night and you'll be fine!
  • by theolein (316044) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:07AM (#14452805) Journal
    It may come as a great shock to these scientists to realise that most people on the planet take awhile to get fully awake after waking up. Those same people would refer to that knowledge as common sense.
    • by datafr0g (831498) <datafrog.gmail@com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:32AM (#14452898) Homepage
      Yeah but do you have scientific evidence that common sense exists?
      • . . .do you have scientific evidence that common sense exists?

        Anecdotal evidence suggests that it does not. I shall apply for a grant to conduct a rigorous test of the hypothesis. If I get it. . .

        Q.E.D.

        KFG
    • Next up, a study that shows that if you put your head between your legs for a few minutes and then sit up really, really fast you get light headed.

      Will the miracle discoveries of science never cease?

      KFG
    • Easy to scoff (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SimianOverlord (727643) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @08:37AM (#14453104) Homepage Journal
      If you had gone to a hospital bureaucrat and argued against shift patterns for junior doctors requiring them to nap during the night when no patients were around, and they asked you for evidence, what then do you do? Say that they would be sleepy? That it was common sense that they couldn't do their job safely?

      I suspect you'd be dismissed because people don't make important decisions like that based on what Joe Schmoe reckons is 'obvious'. That's why things that, on the face of them seem obvious, must be checked out scientifically. There has to be evidence to base decisions on, as gut feelings and common sense are, in many cases, completely and flagrantly wrong.

      You demand those new conditions for junior doctors, and you're suddenly paying them millions of pounds more countrywide. I wouldn't stake millions of pounds on someones common sense without something more to back it up.
  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:08AM (#14452807)
    There was a story about some sleep researchers from MIT having developed an alarm clock that monitors your sleep and wakes you up at a time when you're most likely to be well rested (outside a REM phase or whatever). Of course that meant you couldn't enter the exact time to wake up, just an approximate. I still thought this sounded awesome, and they were going to commercialise it, but even if they did I guess it's really expensive and also, sleeping with sensors attached is bound to be annoying.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I wrote a paper about biological rythms, night work and the use of bright light to ease the transitions from day to night work and back. During that work I read about "alarm" clocks called simulated dawn, it's like a brigth light like the ones used to treat seasonal affective disorders, but it's connected to a clock. You can adjust when the light should light up, and then it will gradually increase the light. This light will be sensed through the eyelids, and when you reach the next light sleep phase you wi
      • by jtoomim (217124) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:36PM (#14455092) Homepage
        I think this article (the news version, at least--I haven't read the actual paper yet, so I can't comment on it) makes one gross error of omission: there is very little discussion of where in the sleep cycles the subjects were woken up. The only thing I've seen that even remotely relates is the 8-hour sleep period used, and that disturbs me for reasons I'll go into later.

        So the human sleep cycle is about 90 minutes in length, and is composed of up to five stages. Stage one sleep is just a euphemism for barely-awake drowsiness. Stage two sleep is the first stage of what we typically call "sleep". It's a rather light sleep, usually dreamless or with vague, poorly-defined hallucination-like dreams. The EEG of stage two sleep is characterized by dominant theta wave (4-8 Hz) activity with small amounts of alpha (8-12 Hz) and delta (0.5-4 Hz). Stages three and four are commonly called "deep sleep" or "slow wave sleep" (SWS), and are defined according to the amount of delta waves present. By definition, stage three consists of 20-50% delta wave activity and stage four consists of more than 50% delta wave activity. These stages are completely dreamless, as the brain is nearly completely inactive during these times. Stage five sleep is also known as REM sleep. During the other four sleep stages, the eyes have little or no movement (as measured by electrooculogram, or EOG), and muscle tone is moderate (as measured by electromyogram, or EMG). During REM sleep, this pattern reverses: the eyes move rapidly, as if the subject were awake and alert, whereas muscular activity and tone flatlines. REM sleep is where the majority of dreams occur, and all of the more vivid ones. EEG and brain activity is similar to stage two sleep. I don't know for sure, but something makes me want to say that while theta waves are the dominant waveform in REM sleep, a fair amount of beta (> 12 Hz) and alpha present as well, moreso than stage 2 sleep.

        There's a paper or two in Claudio Stampi's /Why We Nap/ that describes performance on cognitive tests (e.g., a mathematical reasoning test) after being woken up from each of the five stages of sleep. They tested subjects who had been deprived of sleep for some period of time (I think about 24 hours or less), and then let the subjects sleep for between something like 15 minutes and 80 minutes, depending on their random group assignment and how long they took to enter each stage. On average, the cohort woken up in the middle of stage one, two, and five sleep performed the best, with cognitive deficits disappearing after about 40 minutes, followed by performance that for up to four hours significantly exceeded their pre-nap (and sleep-deprived) performance. Of those three groups, those woken during REM sleep performed the best, and those "woken" during stage one sleep (i.e., drowsy wakefulness) performed the worse, taking about 10 more minutes before shaking off the weight of slumber. On the other hand, those woken during SWS had much greater deficits that lasted several hours, followed by a (shorter) period of above-baseline performance that lasted until about four hours after being woken.

        If the subjects in this study performed that poorly for several hours after being woken, they were probably woken during SWS. Given that they were given 8 hours to sleep, they probably were woken during SWS.

        An average (uninterrupted) sleep cycle typically consists of about 25-40 minutes of stage one and two sleep at the beginning, 10-40 minutes of SWS in the middle, and 0-35 minutes of REM at the end. The amount of each stage of sleep depends on a number of factors, such as the time of day, the time since the last sleep, the amount of "sleep debt" (which is really SWS debt), how physically active the person has been (physical exhaustion produces more and deeper SWS), how mentally active the person has been (the more things a person has learned in the last 1-4 days, the more REM sleep the person will typically get--especially if the new knowledge is procedur
    • Sleeptracker (Score:5, Informative)

      by Freaky Spook (811861) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:29AM (#14452885)
      The sleeptracker watch is what your talking about, it monitors your body signals to wake you up at the best moment, you set an alarm window & it will wake you up at the best time, they sell on Amazon for 139.95.
      • Re:Sleeptracker (Score:4, Informative)

        by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@gmai l . com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:36AM (#14452911)
        Heh, Slashdot rules. I checked it out, and 1) it does seem to work, 2) it just monitors your movement, that's all. If you're moving, you're probably not in a state of deep sleep and are more easily woken up. Interesting, but still too expensive (if not quite as much as I'd have thought). Oh and 3) it's just a wrist watch, so not that annoying to wear, I guess.
    • by Red Alastor (742410) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @09:19AM (#14453266)
      There was a story about some sleep researchers from MIT having developed an alarm clock that monitors your sleep and wakes you up at a time when you're most likely to be well rested (outside a REM phase or whatever).

      No need for sensors or anything complicated. Use two alarm clocks, set one at the earliest time you want to make. Set it on radio and set the sound fairly low. Set the second at the maximum time you want to wake but put it on alarm at maximum volume.

      When you'll be ready to wake up, the low sound will wake you up. If it doesn't happen, the second will wake you. It might take a few shots to figure out how low/loud you must set the first alarm.

  • by woodengod (863603) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:11AM (#14452817)
    ... waking up should be forbidden for persons younger than 21 years ;o)
    • Then in the US waking up should be forbidden for persons younger than 21 years ;o)

      ... leaving the entire population sound asleep, of course.

      Oh wait, that was the idea, right? ;-)

  • by datafr0g (831498) <datafrog.gmail@com> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:11AM (#14452818) Homepage
    There is evidence that the cortical areas of the brain thought to be responsible for problem-solving, complex thought and emotions take longer to wake up than other parts of the brain, Wright wrote.

    Problem Solving? COMPLEX THOUGHT?! EMOTIONS!?!?!?

    Fuck that! I'm goin' back to bed!
  • by Zork the Almighty (599344) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:11AM (#14452819) Journal
    ... but I have a shot or two in the morning, just to be shure.
  • Just claim I took a nap and I can finally survive those afternoon meetings legally.

    As for this being true, my usuall waking up is from nice pleasant dreams to the stark reality that my life is half over and I am old and decrepit and nobody loves me and I am in a job I hate and it is cold and my body hurts.

    The reason I appear drunk is not because I wake up drunk but because a small drink is the only way to survive waking up.

    I don't drive so I am not putting anyone at risk by going to work with a small boo

  • !!! Now that's what it was! I always wondered why the world was making SsSs shapes under my feet after dropping out of bed.
  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:20AM (#14452856) Homepage Journal
    ...and dreamt of being at a Black Sabbath concert. They were grinding out "Iron Man", and I was in front, doing some mighty head-banging.
    Things turned literal when my head met the window sill against which my bed lay.
    I became semi-conscious, with blood streaming from my forhead, but couldn't move well because my right arm was still asleep.
    Almost deathly so: my sleeping position had cut off circulation to the arm, apparently for a long time. The Sabbath dream had been my subconscious trying to 'rock' me into a different position. Later, when my arm functioned again and the bleeding stopped I thought, wow, that would have been pretty funny, if it hadn't happened to me...
    • by Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @09:03AM (#14453192) Homepage
      I think it's funny, even though it happened to you.
    • by Reziac (43301) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @04:05PM (#14457395) Homepage Journal
      I'm a very light sleeper, and typically quite aware of my surroundings even when asleep. True story:

      I'm taking a nap. I start having a dream that a spider is builing a web attached to my nose. I wake up and find... it's TRUE! Some stupid spider had just got done running an anchor line from my nose to the ceiling.

      I don't move in my sleep (I wake up to turn over). I guess the spider thought I was dead. :)

  • Classic (Score:5, Funny)

    by hairykrishna (740240) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:23AM (#14452868)
    "University of Colorado: Quantifying the obvious since 1876"
  • This was also reported by New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8564 [newscientist.com].
  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:29AM (#14452889) Homepage
    I literally think more slowly after waking up. When I shower in the morning it takes me like 20 minutes to do the exact same procedure I can complete in 10 minutes if take a shower in the middle of the day.

    I bicycle to work, and I've found the exercise really helps to jolt you awake. Fresh air and exercise in general wakes me up much better than getting on a bus to work does. Below freezing temperatures help too ;)

    I think people tend to take their need of sleep too lightly these days. I would prefer to sleep about 9 hours a night, but practical issues and social pressure keeps me at between 6 and 8 hours per night. I don't feel that time spent sleeping is wasted, as a programmer I often that I've solved problems during sleep.
  • by aug24 (38229) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @07:39AM (#14452921) Homepage
    ...ever woken up still drunk? I remember doing so after my mate Frank's stag do. Got downstairs, drank some water, out of the house to Fulham High Road to a coffeeshop, bought coffee and a Sunday paper, sat down and realised that (a) I couldn't read and (b) I forgot shoes.

    Justin.
  • For a short period, at least, the effects of sleep inertia may be as bad as or worse than being legally drunk," said researcher Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado.

    Is this one of these scientific tests that involve lots of alcohol and plenty of sleeping?


  • What happens when we sleep is fun. Have you ever woken up to find that the TV or radio is broadcasting exactly what you were dreaming about?

    I'm no sleep researcher or psychologist, but it seems that the human brain is incredibly quick (while dreaming) to pick up on external, subconscious influences/input. It's quite amazing, actually.
    • "I'm no sleep researcher or psychologist, but it seems that the human brain is incredibly quick (while dreaming) to pick up on external, subconscious influences/input. It's quite amazing, actually."

      I disagree. I suspect that what you see when you wake up is being projected back into your memories of being asleep.

      After all, you have no proof that you ever really 'dream', since you're not conscious at the time. All you have are some memories that may or may not bear any resemblance to reality (of course that'
      • Nope. Heard of lucid dreams? They are not a "projection back". You are able to communicate with the outside world (by eyeball movement) with the outside world in realtime.

        It's likely though that you just hear some radio somewhere (neighbour?) playing given piece, then wake up and switch your radio on, to hear just the same piece. Your sense of hearing works pretty well in your sleep.
  • by mrpeebles (853978) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @08:01AM (#14452984)
    Where all this scares me is with respect to medical care. My understanding is that while there are guidelines on how many hours, eg, medical residents can work, at least in many cases it is cheaper for hospitals to pay the fine than to hire more residents. I have heard of studies comparing sleep deprivation to being drunk for a long time. Hopefully they are starting to add up, and we'll stop having to wonder whether the doctor looking at us in the emergency room hasn't slept in the last 24 hours.
    • Thing about this news is that it allegedly shows that performance when just-woken-up is _worse_ than when sleep deprived.

      Which means that the doc who hasn't slept for 24 hours may actually be a better bet than the one who just got woken up to see you. Also means that the practice of being "on call" from asleep is a really bad idea (and that you shouldn't let them grab a couple of hours extra sleep on a slow shift).

      That is why this is interesting (sleep deprivation generally affecting performance is nothing
  • by Admiral Burrito (11807) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @08:04AM (#14452991)

    I must disagree with the article.

    I hate waking up.

  • British army (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 19061969 (939279) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @08:06AM (#14452999)

    This problem of getting to full cognitive capacity after waking is a serious one in some professions. Think about doctors who are on night duty and are woken up to immediately deal with an emergency. In some cases it might be better to just stand around and do nothing for a few minutes unless it really is life threatening.

    I had a doctor friend who, after coming in from a night out drinking, used to hook himself up to a drip. End result: waking up with no dehydration and much less of a hangover, but that's slightly OT.

    I also heard that in the British Army, the first minute after waking up doesn't officially exist - that's because they're aware that people are still "out of sorts" and incapable for at least a minute. In theory, you can punch the Sgt-Major and get away with it.

    Of course, he would make you pay one way or another...

    • Re:British army (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday January 12, 2006 @10:56AM (#14454104) Homepage Journal
      I also heard that in the British Army, the first minute after waking up doesn't officially exist - that's because they're aware that people are still "out of sorts" and incapable for at least a minute. In theory, you can punch the Sgt-Major and get away with it.

      Dunno about in the British Army, but in the American Army this same meme exists -- and it's a (rather dangerous) urban legend. I know this, unfortunately, because when I was an infantryman, a buddy of mine tried to use this as an excuse for kicking a 2LT in the face, and it didn't work. And yeah, the lieutenant deserved it; he used to think it was fun to sneak up to someone's tent and grab their feet and yell "Boo!" if they were sticking out. I'm 6'3", and my buddy was about the same height; you'd better believe that when we were in a tent together, especially those damn issue pup tents that probably haven't changed since the height of the average GI was 5'4" back in the Civil War, our feet were sticking out. To be fair, the 2LT got an ass-chewing -- but my buddy lost a stripe and his next three paychecks.

      Really, when you think about it, it makes sense that this principle isn't generally followed; infantrymen have to be able to wake up and function almost instantly. Generally, only one guy in a foxhole is going to be awake. The other guy has to be able wake up and roll into a firing position the instant anything Really Bad starts happening. It took me years to break that habit.
  • The future's uncertain and the end is always near.
    Let it roll baby roll.


    Jim Morrison did extensive research into this phenomenon, way back in 1970.
  • Speaking as someone who just woke up, I have to disagree.

    Being drunk is fun.

  • Waking up is not at all like being drunk. When I wake up, I'm groggy and pissed off. When I'm drunk, I'm groggy and happy.
  • about politcians and there inability and generally being asleep but I can't think of one
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @09:27AM (#14453320)
    Leela: Look at that 5 o'clock rust. Bender, you've been up all night not drinking, haven't you?!
    Bender: Hey, what I don't do is none of your business!
    Leela: Please, Bender, have some malt liquor. If not for yourself, then for the people who love you.
  • by Flaming Babies (904475) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @09:32AM (#14453343)
    I'm always tired when I get to work,
    yet the women I work with are consistently unattractive all day long.
  • Simple Solution... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrazyTalk (662055) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @09:37AM (#14453373)
    I'm like that as well. That's why God invented coffee.
  • by ayjay29 (144994) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @10:10AM (#14453649)
    On holiday with friends, we got into the habit of a group of us suddenly waking someone up and asking stupid questions or saying stupid stuff.

    "Wake Up!!! Wake Up!!! What's the captial of Paris? What's the captial of Paris? What's the captial of Paris?"

    "Uhh, duhhh, uhhh, France!, uhh, no, no, Paris, uhh France?"

    or even

    "Wake Up!!! Wake Up!!! The Zebras have escaped!! The Zebras have escaped!! The Zebras have escaped!!"

    "Uhh, uhh, Zebras, oh no, shit, Zebras, where, no, shit, what, Zebras?"

    There's definatly a period of a few seconds after waking up when you have no idea what's going on around you. (And it's even worse when a bunch of gits start taking advantage of the fact.)

  • Waking drunk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Feanturi (99866) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @10:49AM (#14454040)
    I get some pretty weird ideas when I'm first waking up. I always use the snooze alarm, setting the clock to start half an hour before I actually have to get up, because I like to sort of 'ease into' waking up. But sometimes, when I'm particularly fatigued, I get strange ideas about what is going on with the alarm clock. On a few occasions, I've hit the snooze and thought to myself, "I'm tired, but at least I have this button that gives me 10 more minutes of sleep," and I would translate this as, "Good thing I can travel back in time by 10 minutes, I can keep this up indefinitely until I am bored with sleeping!" Then there'll be a harsh moment of panic when I actually look at the clock and realize that the time travel isn't working right for some reason.

    Other times, back when I was learning the guitar, I had the weirdest notion that the pulsing tone of the alarm clock was actually a musical scale of a particular key, and I've have to guess what key it was as I hit the button. Then I'd lie back down to wait for the next "test". The clock was a monotone, but I'd declare, "C minor!" and would feel that I had gotten it right, and I would get it right each time with different answers. :)
  • No kidding (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hosiah (849792) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @11:53AM (#14454660)
    My spouse has watched with amusement over the years as I have attempted my first task of the morning - making my espresso. It's a 50% shot if I can pull this off the first time, without forgetting to add water, add beans, turn on pot, plug pot in, get coffee cup, avoid cracking head on cupboard doors, etc. By the time I have espresso in cup in hand and I'm right-side up, I'm OK from there.

    My theory is there's a boot-period for your brain just like a boot period when your computer turns on. The first five minutes after waking is POST, kernel module loading, login, starting the desktop...

    • by jcuervo (715139) <cuervo.slashdot@zerokarma.homeunix.org> on Thursday January 12, 2006 @02:42PM (#14456491) Homepage Journal
      The first five minutes after waking is POST, kernel module loading, login, starting the desktop...
      Brain error or brain not present, please insert caffeine to continue...

    • Re:No kidding (Score:3, Informative)

      by pclminion (145572)
      My spouse has watched with amusement over the years as I have attempted my first task of the morning - making my espresso. It's a 50% shot if I can pull this off the first time, without forgetting to add water, add beans, turn on pot, plug pot in, get coffee cup, avoid cracking head on cupboard doors, etc. By the time I have espresso in cup in hand and I'm right-side up, I'm OK from there.

      Your error is that you only practice in the impaired state. You can't develop a good engram (roughly, "muscle memory"

  • Morning? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ranger (1783) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @12:19PM (#14454914) Homepage
    For some reason I'm reminded of a bumper sticker I once saw:

    Beer! It's the reason I get up in the afternoon!

"How do I love thee? My accumulator overflows."

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