New research into this area has shown that
sometimes certain parts
the brain, even a small group of nerve cells, can fall
into a sleep
like state, even when
the rest of the brain shows signs of being fully
awake. The problem with this condition is that it can be incredibly
dangerous if a microsleep episode happens while a person is performing
a task that requires total concentration.
fact, there have been many
fatal traffic accidents
that have resulted from these episodes, not to
mention accidents while working or doing other important tasks. If you
have ever been driving and basically shut down for a few seconds before
realizing again that you were driving, then you have experienced
fact, pretty much everyone has experienced one of these
episodes, but we usually just pass it off and think we “zoned out” for
a few seconds, when in actuality we
were technically sleeping, even if
just for a few seconds. During one of these episodes, a person’s eyes
will often stay open, which makes it hard for others to
see what is
individual is also usually not
aware that they were
asleep and will not be able to react during the episode,
which is what
makes it so dangerous while driving or doing other tasks as the person
may not notice that a traffic light has turned red or they may cross
the center line on a highway.
these episodes can be related to a medical condition or a
sleeping disorder, sometimes it's not so serious, and they can also
just be a result of sleep
or a sleep
debt (when a person continually fails to get an adequate
amount of sleep).
to the dangerous nature of these episodes, you
should try to be alert for the signs that a microsleep episode might be
about to happen. This will help you to have time to stop doing any
dangerous task such as driving before you experience an episode and put
yourself and others at risk.
a person usually remains completely unaware of the fact that they
slept after a microsleep episode, there are signs that one could be
about to happen. These signs are usually quite easy to spot
the person about to have the episode and others around them.
symptoms occur while performing a dangerous task, you should stop what
you are doing immediately and rest. For instance, if it happens while
driving, you should pull
over to the side of the road and try to sleep.
Even a short nap may
be enough to prevent an episode from occurring,
and arriving at your destination late is better than being in an
accident. Some of the most common and recognizable symptoms include:
- Drooping or closed eyelids
- A blank look in the eyes
or staring at
- Lack of or difficulties concentrating
matter what the underlying cause of the problem is, the ultimate
reason that these episodes occur is sleep
deprivation or sleep debt.
This also means that the more sleep deprived a person is, the more
likely it is for an episode to occur and the more often that they will
also seems to be that these episodes are most likely to occur
either in the early morning hours (usually before dawn) or in the
after having lunch.
most common cause of microsleep episodes definitely has to be
simple sleep deprivation caused by poor sleep
hygiene or a simple lack
of adequate sleep. This is actually quite worrying because sleep
deprivation is something that all too many adults constantly suffer
busy modern lives have resulted in sleep being sacrificed for
work or lost due to hours spent staring at the television or computer
screen. Despite the huge amount of information showing the importance
of sleep on our overall level of health, we continue to ignore it,
making a large percentage of the population likely to suffer from one
of these episodes.
though, this cause is also one
easiest to treat. Having proper sleep hygiene and good
will help ensure that you get the amount of sleep you need to avoid
suffering from one of these episodes. It will also have a positive
impact on your overall health, not to mention keeping you
accidents caused during an episode.
Still, many people who
suffer from these episodes do so because their sleep deprivation is related to another medical
condition or sleeping disorder. Probably the most common
sleeping disorder that results in episodes of microsleep has to be narcolepsy.
fact, one of the major
warning signs that a person is suffering from narcolepsy is frequent
frequent episodes could also be a sign of
another sleeping disorder, such as sleep
apnea or hypersomnia, as they
typically cause a person to be constantly sleep deprived.
episodes also often occur when a person suffers from excessive daytime
sleepiness, which is a type of insomnia.
condition that could be responsible for these episodes is
which is when there is a lack of oxygen getting to the brain
through the bloodstream.
hypoxia is one of the major issues with
sleep apnea, their blood oxygen levels are typically only lowered
during an apnea while sleeping.
if these episodes are due to
hypoxia, it is most likely not a sleeping disorder, but a different
medical condition that is responsible.
you feel that you get adequate sleep, but still suffer from these
episodes, it may be necessary
to see your doctor to determine if you
have a sleeping disorder or other medical condition that is responsible.
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