Microsleep is a situation in which a person falls asleep for a short period of time without realizing it, occurring very quickly, usually lasting from three to five seconds without any warning. Microsleep often happens to individuals who are sleepy and trying to stay awake.
Symptoms of Microsleep
Imagine this situation. The journey is still far. You are tired and driving home late at night. Your eyes become too heavy, and you try to stay awake as much as possible. Should you continue driving or stop for a while?
Accidents can be caused by many reasons, including drunk driving, technical problems with the car, unsafe roads, and many more. But another common cause of accidents is microsleep. However, accidents caused by microsleep are still not widely recognized.
Although microsleep is difficult to identify because it occurs unconsciously, we can still identify its symptoms. Some symptoms of microsleep include:
- Slow response to any information;
- Blank stare, distant thoughts;
- Dropping something that is being held;
- Head nodding;
- Slow blinking;
- Sudden startle or jerk;
- Difficulty remembering what happened 1 or 2 minutes ago
For your information, microsleep can occur even when your eyes are open and awake. If your body begins to experience the signs below, it means you may experience microsleep.
Some of the warning signs of microsleep that can be dangerous are:
- Unable or too difficult to keep your eyes open;
- Excessive or frequent yawning;
- Sudden startle or jerk Blinking more frequently than usual;
- Driving out of the lane or lane dangerously without realizing it;
- Repeated yawning;
- Missing the exit;
- Feeling heavy eyelids.
What Causes Microsleep?
Usually, microsleep is associated with excessive drowsiness combined with boring tasks such as driving, doing assignments, and many more. It also often occurs in individuals who have not slept enough for a long period of time. The longer you stay awake, the higher the likelihood of experiencing it.
Lack of sleep can result from various things such as sleep disorders like insomnia or not getting quality sleep due to other factors. When we are drowsy, a part of our brain actually starts to sleep even though we are still physically awake, but our brain is not functioning fully.
In addition, microsleep can also be caused by sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea. It can cause an individual to have enough sleep time but cannot get quality sleep due to disruptions such as blockage in the respiratory tract.
The advanced world of technology also contributes to individuals who cannot rest and sleep enough. Shift work routines, practicing two or three jobs at the same time, studying and working at the same time, not having work-life balance are causes that cause many individuals to not get enough sleep, resulting in microsleep.
What is more worrying is that when a driver who drives in a state of sleep deprivation has the same effect on the body as a driver who drives under the influence of alcohol. Those who stay awake for 18 hours without sleeping were found to have the same drowsy effect as an individual with a blood alcohol content reading of 0.05 BAC.
How to Overcome Microsleep
The most important way to overcome microsleep is to ensure that you get enough quality sleep at night. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between seven to eight hours a day.
How to get quality sleep? It starts with discipline. Some things you need to do include:
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially when your body is already tired. To overcome microsleep and get quality sleep, don’t drink anything that contains caffeine or alcohol. This will make your body unable to sleep;
- Turn off the lights, TV, or radio;
- Avoid any activities that can stimulate your brain;
- Maintain a comfortable room temperature.
If you feel very sleepy in the afternoon, don’t force yourself to stay awake. It will do more harm than good. Instead, give yourself time to sleep for a short period of time. This is called a power nap.
A power nap only takes 20 minutes to help you feel refreshed and energized. Avoid taking too long, more than 20 minutes for a power nap. It can make you feel more sleepy and sluggish.
If you’re driving alone, the way to overcome microsleep is to ensure that your mind is fresh with things that are calming and not distracting. For example, make sure you turn on the radio. The radio can be your companion. Your favorite music or podcast can reduce drowsiness.
If there are other passengers in the vehicle, make sure you talk to them. This is to prevent you from feeling drowsy. However, if you feel extremely drowsy, the next way to overcome microsleep is to stop and sleep for ten minutes.
If you’re on a highway, you can go to rest areas, and if you’re on a regular road, you can go to safe places to stop for a while.
Most ways to overcome microsleep are by ensuring that you get enough sleep. However, many are still unaware of the importance of getting enough sleep.
In conclusion, getting enough sleep is not only necessary to prevent you from experiencing microsleep while driving, but it is also important for your long-term health.
If you plan to travel far, make sure you get enough rest and sleep. If we don’t get enough rest and sleep, we may be involved in accidents that can harm us. These accidents cannot be predicted. Therefore, it is also important for you to get personal accident insurance protection. It can minimize the risks you may experience.
Remember, a healthy body also requires enough sleep. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. Your body will thank you when you get enough rest and sleep. That’s all the information that Qoala can share about how to overcome microsleep. Hopefully, this information can be beneficial!
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