Exhaustion can lead to a whole host of unpleasant side effects and impact various areas of your life. One side effect of extreme fatigue you may experience and not necessarily realize is something called microsleep.
What is this phenomenon, and how can it lead to a serious car crash? Learn more about microsleep and how to stop it before it is too late.
The brain requires sleep to recharge it and the body. If you do not get the proper amount of sleep, the brain can begin to capture it in small, quantifiable doses whenever it deems appropriate. Microsleep is a sleep disorder that involves short bursts of sleep, usually no more than a few seconds at a time, where the brain essentially shuts itself off to conscious processing. During these short times, you lose the ability to react to sudden distress and stimuli, such as a vehicle entering your lane of travel unexpectedly.
Risks for microsleep
While anyone can experience some sleep deprivation, those at risk for microsleep often go beyond only netting a few hours a night. If you work a job that requires you to remain awake at night and, therefore, not follow the traditional somatic cycle of sleep, you may run a higher risk of experiencing bouts of microsleep. Truck drivers, factory workers, air traffic controllers, first responders and healthcare workers on the overnight shift are at the highest risk for microsleep.
If your job requires you to work at night, you must remain dedicated to shifting your sleep cycle accordingly. Not doing so puts you at risk of microsleep behind the wheel.