Beware of Microsleep, Short Sleep that Can Be Dangerous

Are you one of the many people who like to sleep late? If so, you should immediately avoid these unhealthy habits. The reason, sleeping late can cause you to sleep less and sleepy the next day. Besides being unhealthy, one of the dangerous things is experiencing microsleep suddenly at an unexpected time. So, what is meant by microsleep? Check out the full explanation below. 

What is microsleep?

Microsleep is not the same as normal sleep. This condition can last from just one second to two minutes. However, you don't always notice it because microsleep usually occurs due to the inevitable feeling of tiredness and sleepiness. 

You can experience it anywhere and anytime, including watching television and reading books. Therefore, actually microsleep can harm your condition. Especially if it happens when you're driving a car and the like. In fact, this seemingly simple condition can harm many people. 

When experiencing microsleep, you usually won't realize if you are asleep or will enter a sleep state. Not to mention, this condition can occur in a state of open eyes with a blank stare. Not only that, one of the characteristics of Microsleep is head movements such as nodding and blinking too often. 

If this is the case, those of you who experience it may not be able to remember what happened a few minutes earlier. However, after falling asleep, those of you who experience microsleep often wake up feeling refreshed even for a short time. 

What causes microsleep to occur? 

Of course, the main cause of microsleep is a lack of sleep. However, each person has a different way of responding to sleep deprivation. If you are used to having enough hours of sleep, the risk of experiencing microsleep will be greater even if you only get one night of sleep deprivation. 

However, this condition may not apply to people who are used to staying up late and lack of sleep. Even so, that doesn't mean you can't be sleepy during the day at all if you don't get enough sleep. Here are some other causes of microsleep:

1. Sleep disturbance

Those of you  who have sleep disorders may experience microsleep. Especially if you also apply unhealthy habits. Some sleep disorders that can trigger daytime sleepiness are:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Circadian rhythm disturbances

2. Change of working hours

There are several types of work that may cause you to work at night. In fact, usually, the night is your time to rest, not work. Therefore, a change in working hours can cause a change in sleep hours. 

Here are some types of work that can cause you to experience sleep deprivation: 

  • Health workers
  • Security unit (security guard)
  • Police
  • Vehicle driver
  • Employees working in warehouse

3. Stay up late

Staying up late or not sleeping all night can also cause you to experience microsleep. Usually, this is inevitably done by students or office employees to complete assignments. In fact, vehicle drivers may also be forced to do this when they have to travel long distances. 

Before you can replace the lost hours of sleep at a later time, this is prone to causing you to feel sleepy and tired throughout the day. At that time, the risk of experiencing microsleep was even greater. 

What are the symptoms that appear when experiencing microsleep?

If you experience continuous microsleep incessantly, this condition certainly requires special attention. The reason, as mentioned earlier, the condition can endanger yourself and others. 

Unfortunately, you may also be unknowingly experiencing microsleep. Therefore, pay attention to some of the symptoms that may arise from microsleep. You should also watch out for these signs and symptoms, especially if you didn't get enough sleep the night before. 

Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Flashing slowly but continuously
  • Difficulty understanding information properly and correctly
  • Woke up in a state of shock
  • Often yawns in the morning and afternoon

Conditions that may occur as a result of experiencing microsleep

In fact, having the inevitable sleepiness once or twice is not a serious health problem. At that time, you can overcome it by sleeping or paying off sleep debts that are lost due to lack of sleep. However, if the microsleep is unresolved and persists for a prolonged period of time, you may need to worry. 

Why is that? The reason is, if left untreated, this condition can cause you to no longer be able to drive or do activities that require high concentration properly. In other words, your risk of having a car accident or work accident also increases. 

Not only that, it turns out that prolonged microsleep can also attack your overall health. If you have this, you may experience some chronic health problems, such as the following:

  • Heart disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Obesity
  • Mental health disorders

Prevents microsleep

Basically, the best way to prevent microsleep is to get enough sleep every day. These healthy habits will also help you stay productive through the day without feeling tired.

However, according to The Better Sleep Council, if certain jobs and activities force you to reduce your sleep hours, there are several things you can do to prevent microsleep, such as the following:

1. Doing a power nap

A power nap is a short sleep, about 15-20 minutes to recharge what might not be as much energy as usual. The goal, so that you can focus more for a longer time even though hours of sleep are reduced.

However, make sure not to overdo it until you sleep more than 20 minutes. This is because it has the opposite effect. That way, you will even feel more sleepy and tired. 

2. Rest for a while 

If you are at work, especially a job that requires you to sit still in front of a computer or laptop, make sure to take a few minutes of rest every 30 minutes. This aims to make every part of your brain work and reduce boredom. 

When you move, the blood flow in the body becomes smoother. This will help prevent you from feeling sleepy in the middle of the day.

3. Have a conversation with other people

You can also reduce sleepiness and prevent microsleep by having conversations with other people. Talking to other people certainly makes you need high concentration.  

This will make you try to be able to continue to follow the conversation with the person until the drowsiness disappears. Especially if the topic you are talking about is fun and interesting. Of course you will be more enthusiastic to talk with him. 

4. Consuming caffeinated drinks 

There is nothing wrong with consuming caffeinated drinks if you are sleep deprived. But remember, it takes 30 minutes for the stimulation from the caffeine in coffee or tea to have an effect on you. Even so, still pay attention to when is the right time to consume it. 

The reason is, you are still not advised to consume it before bed. If you take it at night, especially close to bedtime, you will have trouble falling asleep and feel even more tired and sleepy the next day.