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Microsleep: What is it and Why does that happen?

Author: Gud Sleepz Team
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Microsleep: What is it and Why does that happen?

Microsleep: What is it and Why does that happen?

“My body has decreed that I shall nap, and nothing will stand in my way” - Kathryn Ormsbee


Are you someone who doze off while travelling on train or bus? Or do you find yourself dozing off at work or college? This is a common phenomenon for people who are sleep deprived. Microsleeps are a brief period of unconsciousness where your brain falls asleep for about few seconds and waking you up through a jerking movement. It is said to be, that single part of your brain might be sleeping while the rest of the brain is still awake.


But a growing body of research suggests that, microsleeps can be due to the decreased arousal state in the areas responsible for wakefulness and increased theta wave activity when you doze off briefly. This won’t be dangerous for someone who is travelling via train or bus or at the comfort of their home. But it can pose a serious threat for people who have risky jobs such as drivers, surgeons and technical worker who work in high risk conditions. 


Have you ever wondered why this microsleep happens? Yes, as I said, sleep deprivation is the primary reason. But there are also other reasons that causes microsleeps in individuals between tasks. Another reason where most of the students find themselves dozing off is, boredom. An optimum level of arousal is required for your brain to engage in tasks and any such monotonous tasks can lead to boredom and eventually make you drowsy. 


So let’s look at some of the causes for microsleeping and find ways to address them. 


Sleep deprivation


Sleep deprivation is common phenomenon among the newer generation due to the increased time spent on social media or school or at work can lead to a complete neglect of your sleep schedule. Due to the lack of attention given to sleep, many younger adults find themselves dozing off whenever and wherever possible posing significant health risk. If you are someone who microsleeps, then it’s time to spend time sleeping more and getting enough sleep. 


Health Concerns 


While mostly microsleeping is not an alarming sign for underlying health concerns but there is a chance of certain conditions to commonly experience microsleep on a daily basis. These could include conditions such as: Narcolepsy, Insomnia/Hypersomnia, Periodic limb movement disorder, Sleep apnea or certain underlying mental health conditions. Whichever is affecting your overall quality and quantity of sleep requires professional help to address microsleeping issues. 


Shift Work Disorders/Circadian Rhythm Disorders


Another common reason why microsleeping might happen is because, your circadian rhythm might not have been synchronized with your daily routine. In shift workers, this is a common occurrence as they work against the natural circadian rhythm. In these cases, getting enough light before work or making sure to plan things as per your circadian rhythm is important. Avoid light when sleeping during the day and make use of some light therapy bulbs when you wake for your work. These can help with your microsleeps to an extent. And remember to get enough sleep during your rest period. 


Boredom or Decreased Arousal


This is common to most of us where we tend to get bored and our mind starts to switch off from the task at hand. These can also be common in working conditions where your work isn’t challenging enough. In order to combat these issues, it’s important to give different stimulation to your mind for optimum working energy. You can either ask for a challenging assignment or get yourself immersed in something that interests you. Or if you need to do a monotonous task, try to lighten it by adding a fun element to keep up your excitation like talking to a coworker or listening to a podcast. The whole aspect of boredom is to add some fun element to your task at hand or to take a small break. 


In conclusion, microsleeping isn’t dangerous but it isn’t something that is normal either. If you have a healthy sleep routine, microsleeping would not occur. So, based on the tips shared on this blog, work on balancing your sleep well. 


Please Book a Session with sleep coach to know more about your sleep.


Take care, Good night. 


 

Tags: microsleep , nap , sleep

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