Microsleep: Understand Its Causes, Symptoms, Dangers, And Treatment

What Is Microsleep?

If you feel sleepy during the day, you might have experienced it yourself. When you drive home, you may not recall the last mile you drove, the red light you passed, or even the last 10 seconds of your drive. This is called microsleep, and it can affect your performance in a variety of situations. If you suffer from sleep problems or are just tired, you should learn how to identify the signs of microsleep.

People with sleep deprivation are most likely to experience microsleep. Those who do not get enough sleep are four times more likely to have accidents. So, the most effective way to prevent microsleep is to sleep enough. We need adequate sleep to perform optimally, which will improve our cognitive and physical performance. However, intentionally depriving ourselves of sleep is counterproductive. Even when you get enough rest, you will experience microsleep moments at times.

During microsleep episodes, brain activity slows and muscle tone drops. An electroencephalogram (EEG) shows that there is a decrease in neural activity and a decrease in muscle tone. This stage of sleep only lasts a few seconds. While it’s important to remember that you’re not in deep sleep, microsleep is an indication of a deeper sleep cycle and can even improve your performance.

Causes Of Microsleep

Microsleeps are also known to happen in people who do shift work, as they struggle against the body’s natural rhythms to stay awake during the nighttime hours when the biological urge to sleep is strong. They can also happen as a result of doing monotonous tasks for a long time.

Sleep deprivation

Microsleeps are brief selective shutdowns that occur when the brain is tired. They happen when substances in the body build up during the day, which causes the brain to feel sleepy. Microsleeps are also associated with a higher risk of car accidents for drivers with obstructive sleep apnea. The risk of a car accident with a sleep-deprived person may be four times higher than that of a driver who gets sufficient rest.

Dopamine-stimulating drugs

Microsleep is a real sleep episode that lasts just a few seconds. It is distinguished from a deep sleep by a slowing of neural activity, and muscle tone decreases. Microsleep may affect the ability to focus, remember details, and perform other tasks. It is more common among people who use stimulants, such as dopamine-stimulating drugs.

In short, microsleep is an uncontrollable sleep episode that may last just a few seconds or even a few minutes. It happens when a person is sleep-deprived and extremely fatigued. It may also be caused by a lack of activity, like sitting in one position for too long or driving down a long, smooth road. But it’s not necessarily dangerous.

Sleep disorders

People experiencing microsleep often feel drowsy throughout the day. They will typically experience a blank stare, a slower eye movement, and an inability to respond to outside stimuli. People experiencing microsleep may also experience hypnic muscle jerks, a feeling that they are falling or have lost consciousness. If you are experiencing microsleep, then  you must needs to fix your sleep schedule. Microsleep also happens when one does not practice proper sleep hygiene. So, this is agreat indication to the sufferer that he/she must start practising sleep hygiene.


Microsleep: Symptoms

People who have irregular sleeping patterns may have more frequent and intense episodes of microsleep. Microsleep is a symptom of sleep disorders, which can worsen mental health and cause serious medical problems. If you experience frequent night wakings or intense daytime sleepiness, you should seek medical help. If you’re experiencing confusion, inattention, or forgetfulness during the day, you should also seek medical care.

People with sleep disorders should be aware of the signs of microsleep. A microsleep episode can cause a serious accident, especially if it happens without warning. Drivers who experience frequent microsleep are particularly dangerous since they could make lethal mistakes while they’re sleep-deprived. Another major risk of microsleep is drowsy driving, which accounts for approximately one-fifth of all fatal car crashes. A lack of sleep can impair judgment and reduce reaction time.

Dangers Of Microsleep

Those at risk of falling asleep at work or driving while tired are drivers. Just 3 seconds of dozing while driving at 60 mph can result in a 300-foot error. Drivers who have not slept for 20 hours may perform worse than drunk drivers. Another field where sleep deprivation is an issue in the medical field. Researchers have discovered that nighttime shift medical workers are more susceptible to needlesticks. Furthermore, medical errors are likely to increase as well.

Another danger is driving while tired. When driving at night, you’re more susceptible to microsleep, and you may not be aware of your location. If you’re already driving while sleepy, you could become lost and hit the road. Driving while fatigued can be a serious accident. The best solution to microsleep is to get adequate sleep. If you’re worried about it, you can try taking an extra nap before driving.

If you’re worried about the potential dangers of micro sleeping, take note of the effects it has on your reaction time, judgment, and decision-making skills. Lack of sleep can result in stress, impatience, and recklessness. So, it’s vital to get enough sleep each day! But if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, don’t let it go unchecked.

Treatments For Microsleep 


Naps are a great way to combat microsleep. A good nap should last 90 minutes to two hours and leave you feeling refreshed and rested. During these naps, avoid drinking caffeine as this can interfere with falling asleep and may even make you feel more tired the next day. Naps should also be easy to take as caffeine takes 30 to 45 minutes to take effect. These medications are also recommended for people who struggle with daytime sleepiness.

Proper Sleep

Research shows that microsleep is associated with sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep makes the brain more susceptible to microsleep, so treating sleep disorders is the best way to avoid the onset of these episodes. Proper sleep is crucial for cognitive and physical performance and general well-being. There are many options for the effective treatment of sleep disorders and microsleep. For your best sleep, get adequate sleep every night. A proper mattress and the mattress firmness scale is also to be taken into consideration for getting proper sleep. 


A medication called modafinil can help patients reduce their microsleeps. However, this medication is known to have side effects. This drug can also make people more susceptible to sleep disorders, like narcolepsy. If your symptoms are affecting your quality of life, you need to seek professional help. You should not rely on the information you find on a blog. This information is meant to be general and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a licensed health care professional.


While microsleep isn’t dangerous for most people, it can be dangerous at work. Recent studies have shown that one-third of nurses have fallen asleep at work within the last week, and an anesthesiologist reported occurrences during a four-hour procedure. The dangers of sleep-deprived professionals can range from dangerous medical errors to workplace disasters. With these risks in mind, it’s important to develop a treatment plan for microsleep.

By sameer

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