It's the short semiconscious or confused state after sleep. Very much like a hypnic jerk but you don't go back to sleep. Like waking up very early in the morning but you slept late your body is not ready to get up. Or being roused from sleep by an earthquake your body doesn't know how to react. You either get out of bed after this state or it may be followed by a short glassy-eyed idle moment.

  • 1
    I know you requested a single word, but would you accept a 2-word phrase? Sleep inertia sounds like what you're looking for. If so, I'll post it as answer.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 9, 2016 at 7:59
  • @Lawrence - it is a good suggestion, post an answer.
    – user66974
    Mar 9, 2016 at 8:13
  • 11
    What is the source language of 'alimungawan'? There might very well be already accepted translations.
    – Mitch
    Mar 9, 2016 at 13:38
  • 2
  • 1
    @Mitch What I was referring to was the language. It's Cebuano, from the Philippines. Mar 9, 2016 at 22:43

6 Answers 6


I would call this being groggy:

not able to think or move normally because of being tired, sick, etc.


  • 7
    Or grogginess, in the event that a noun is needed.
    – Egox
    Mar 9, 2016 at 8:23

Hypnagogia is a fancy term for half-awake or half-asleep. Personally, I prefer the latter two. The Wikipedia article says:

However, hypnagogia is also regularly employed in a more general sense that covers both falling asleep and waking up […] Threshold consciousness (commonly called "half-asleep" or "half-awake", or "mind awake body asleep") describes the same mental state of someone who is moving towards sleep or wakefulness, but has not yet completed the transition. Such transitions are usually brief, but can be extended by sleep disturbance or deliberate induction, for example during meditation

  • I had a look at this also, as well as the more waking-specific term hypnopompic, but didn't get the impression that the word addressed the confusion and lack of motor control that the OP was looking for.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 10, 2016 at 1:13
  • 2
    I think Hypnopompic is technically correct: "Depressed frontal lobe function in the first few minutes after waking ... causes slowed reaction time and impaired short-term memory" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnopompic . However not many people will know what you're talking about!
    – Rob Church
    Mar 10, 2016 at 11:15

This is called sleep inertia.

Sleep inertia is a physiological state characterised by a decline in motor dexterity and a subjective feeling of grogginess immediately following an abrupt awakening. - wikipedia

  • Curiously, by the definition of inertia the expression "sleep inertia" should also apply to insomnia.
    – ANeves
    Mar 10, 2016 at 15:55
  • @ANeves That might be better termed the inertia of being awake :) .
    – Lawrence
    Mar 10, 2016 at 16:00

There is the term "sleep drunk":

having trouble coming to full wakefulness after sleep, accompanied by intense confusion and disorientation, and even sometimes violent reactions and amnesia



I would call this being drowsy:

drowsy (ˈdraʊzɪ) adj, drowsier or drowsiest

  1. (Physiology) heavy with sleepiness; sleepy
  2. inducing sleep; soporific
  3. sluggish or lethargic; dull
  • 6
    I tend to associate "drowsy" more with falling asleep when you want to stay awake, rather than being half-asleep while you're waking up. Mar 9, 2016 at 15:57
  • 4
    Like Mason, I have only ever seen "drowsy" used in American English to mean close to falling asleep. I suppose one could say that a person is "still drowsy" after waking up, but I've never seen that usage.
    – recognizer
    Mar 9, 2016 at 16:36

It's a metaphor, but you could try fug

It literally means a smoky atmosphere, but it can be used to mean that kind of disorientation, when you're not yet fully aware of your surroundings.

  • That word is extremely rare. I've never seen it used in casual writing; most readers would be likely to think it was a typo for "fog".
    – user89175
    Mar 10, 2016 at 4:43
  • It may be part of a regional dialect, I use it a lot in that context and people understand me.
    – AJFaraday
    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.