What is microsleep? It sounds like a good thing. The truth is, it’s not, and it’s dangerous. Microsleep is a brief and uncontrollable sleep episode that can last for a split second or up to 10 seconds. Microsleep occurs when an exhausted person is fighting to stay awake. Almost everyone has felt the overwhelmingly tired sensation, it takes over your body and you start to nod off. Then a split second later, you wake up. That’s microsleep.
Microsleep itself isn’t what is dangerous. It’s the environment around you. A microsleep episode obviously isn’t dangerous if you’re laying in bed attempting to keep your eyes peeled for a Netflix show. If it occurs at a time where you’re driving or operating any type of machinery, an accident could be detrimental.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 25 adults admitted to having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past 30 days. Resulting in 72,00 crashes, 44,00 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. Driving drowsy is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Considering how short microsleep bursts are, is it really considered sleep? There are two types of sleep, Non-rapid eye movement sleep, and rapid eye movement sleep. Also known as Non-REM and REM sleep. Microsleep does not fall into either category because it is so brief and fleeting that you have no chance to enter Non-REM or REM sleep. Hence, microsleep is technically not really sleeping.
The main cause of microsleep is sleep deprivation. When an individual pushes themselves too far, whether it be attending social events or working too many hours, they begin to get drowsy. Since they have places to be, they force themselves to keep going. Thus, leading to sleep deprivation and possibly an accident. Drivers who are drowsy are most often falling asleep at the wheel during the night time when they should be sleeping instead.
The answer here is quite simple. If you don’t want to fall victim to microsleep, then sleep better! We know, sometimes there are external factors that you just can’t control. If you have trouble sleeping or struggle with a sleep disorder, consider purchasing an organic mattress, shutting technology down earlier, and munching on some bedtime snacks. The most efficient way to prevent microsleep is to prevent sleep deprivation. Make sleep a priority and you’ll notice a difference in no time.