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What Happens when you experience Microsleep?

April 09, 2018


What is Microsleep?

We have all experienced the difficulty of trying to continue focussing or functioning when you are over-tired or sleepy. You suddenly jerk awake and realise that, for a fleeting second or more, you have no recollection of time or what you did. Pretty scary, right?  These episodes are called “microsleep”. Pretty harmless when it occurs inside a movie house. Not so harmless while you are driving. Let’s explain:

Rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) are the two main stages of sleep we experience. Microsleep happens for a fleeting, uncontrollable moment and is so short that it cannot be characterised as any stage of sleep, as is REM which is characterised by changes in breathing rate, blood pressure and blood flow to the brain and organs.  NREM, on the other hand, is characterised by a decrease in blood flow to the brain and muscles, a slow-down in heart rate and breathing, a drop in blood pressure and even a change in the total volume of air circulating through the lungs. Microsleep is too fleeting for any of these conditions to fully occur.

As microsleep most commonly presents itself in individuals that are sleep deprived, it goes to reason that it can be prevented. People that drive long distances, especially at night, or operate dangerous or heavy machinery, should be especially alert to getting enough rest so not to force the body into microsleep episodes and thus increasing their risk of accidents.

Prevent micro sleeping by ensuring that you get enough, good quality, uninterrupted sleep. Browse our blog for loads of tips to help you get a better night’s sleep and if this includes purchasing a new bed, we are here to help you choose the perfect bed for you!


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