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Why can you still feel groggy after getting a full night’s sleep?

The condition called sleep inertia leaves you feeling “out of it."

HOUSTON — Sometimes even when you get seven or eight hours of sleep you wake up feeling out of it. That feeling actually has a name – sleep inertia.

What is sleep inertia?

The Sleep Foundation describes it as a feeling of grogginess, disorientation, and cognitive impairment when you wake up. It usually lasts anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour but in some rare cases can last hours.

What causes sleep inertia?

The cause of sleep inertia is not clear, but it tends to show up in people with irregular sleep schedules. Think shift workers or people who stay up late on weekends.

What is adenosine?

One theory blames adenosine. That is a sleep-promoting chemical that builds up in your brain as the day progresses. By nighttime, you have enough to drift off to sleep. As you snooze it is purged from your body. If anything disrupts that cycle traces of adenosine could still be left when you wake up.

So, what can you do about it? Napping can help but experts say it shouldn’t be longer than 30 minutes.

Caffeine can also help kick off those cobwebs from sleep inertia since it blocks adenosine receptors. Also, healthy sleep habits help like limiting screen use before bed and keeping your bedroom cool and dark.

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