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Groggy makes us foggy

London, Jan. 11: Getting up in the morning is the first, and for many, the most perilous moment of the day. You can sprain an ankle on the stairs, scald a hand while making tea or be floored in an ungainly tussle with your clothes.

But according to researchers, grogginess after waking should be treated more seriously for how it impairs thinking and memory skills ' and the implications for doctors, firefighters and other staff roused straight into action upon waking.

A study by scientists at the University of Colorado suggests that the performance of people immediately after waking is as bad as, or worse, than if they were drunk.

The research showed that short-term memory, counting skills and cognitive abilities were impaired in the groggy period, known as sleep inertia. The performance was found to be significantly worse in people who had just woken up after eight hours’ sleep than those who had been awake for more than 24 hours.

The most severe effects were seen in participants within the first three minutes of waking and generally appeared to dissipate within the first ten minutes. However, the impairments could be detected for up to two hours.

Kenneth Wright, an assistant professor at Colorado University, said that the study had implications for medical, safety and transport workers. He added that it also illuminated the challenges faced by anyone who was forced to make crucial decisions.

after an abrupt awakening. “If a person is awakened

suddenly, by a fire alarm for example, motivation

alone may be insufficient to overcome the effects of

sleep inertia,” he said.

Dr Wright added that cognitive deficiencies after 24

hours of sleep deprivation had previously been shown

to equate to the effects of alcohol intoxication. The

study, published today in the Journal of the American

Medical Association, is the first to quantify the

effects of sleep inertia. “The cognitive skills of

subjects were worse upon awakening than after extended

sleep deprivation. For a short period, at least, the

effects of sleep inertia may be as bad as or worse

than being legally drunk,” Dr Wright said.

A morning alarm they didn't need

ONE memorable image of 1997 was a groggy Cherie Blair

in her nightie accepting flowers the morning after

Labour had ended 18 years of Conservative rule.

At 6.07am on May 29, 2002, Andrew Gilligan said on the

Today programme that the Government “probably” knew

that its claim on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction

was wrong. It led to the Hutton inquiry, the downfall

of the Director-General and the Chairman of the BBC

and Mr Gilligan’s departure.

Francis Joyon, the French sailor, had set a record

last year for fastest solo Atlantic crossing when he

nodded off as he neared home. His '500,000 trimaran

ploughed into rocks and was destroyed.

In 1992 Pandora Maxwell was angry at two suited men

who woke her up at her London home. She threatened to

call the police. They were the police and had come to

arrest her husband, Kevin, Britain’s biggest bankrupt.

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