AskDefine | Define somnolence

Dictionary Definition

somnolence n : a very sleepy state; "sleepiness causes many driving accidents" [syn: sleepiness, drowsiness] [ant: wakefulness]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. State of drowsiness, sleepiness




Latin somnus, sleep


somnolence (plural somnolences)


    • 1912, Pierre Loti, Un pèlerin d'Angkor
      Et puis, surtout, midi approche, avec sa lassitude, avec son invincible somnolence.

Extensive Definition

Somnolence (or "drowsiness") is a state of near-sleep, a strong desire for sleep, or sleeping for unusually long periods (c.f. hypersomnia). It has two distinct meanings, referring both to the usual state preceding falling asleep, and the chronic condition referring to being in that state independent of a circadian rhythm. The disorder characterized by the latter condition is most commonly associated with users of prescription hypnotics, such as mirtazapine or zolpidem.
It is considered a lesser impairment of consciousness than stupor or coma.


Sleepiness can be dangerous when performing tasks that require constant concentration, such as driving a vehicle. When a person is sufficiently fatigued, he or she may experience microsleeps (loss of concentration).

Associated conditions

somnolence in Bosnian: Somnolencija
somnolence in German: Somnolenz
somnolence in Korean: 졸림
somnolence in Croatian: Somnolencija
somnolence in Italian: Sonnolenza
somnolence in Polish: Somnolencja
somnolence in Swedish: Somnolens
somnolence in Thai: ความง่วง

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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