Micro-Sleeps Are Dangerous

How to manage micro sleep…

Have you ever dozed off without realizing it? Sounds dangerous, right? Well, it is. More so if you are driving or operating machinery. Micro sleeps last anywhere from a few fractions of a second to upwards of ten seconds. What makes them dangerous is those experiencing them are unaware.

If we really thought about it, 10 seconds is really a long time for quite a few things to happen. Some persons have only realised that they had a micro sleep, by a sudden drop in the head or a quick nudge by a friend or family member. In fact if you think through sometimes, we wonder how did we move from one point to another and didn’t register it in our memory. It is possible that you may have had a micro-sleep.

Those most at risk have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or are sleep deprived. So what measures can we take to manage micro-sleeps?

Quality sleep
Micro sleep is often caused by sleep deprivation. To get quality sleep, the sleeping environment should be made as comfortable as possible. This means no distractions such as phones or TV’s. The room should be preferably pitch dark to program your brain for sleep. Also, drinks such as caffeine should be avoided before sleep.

For adults, a minimum of 7 hours of sleep is recommended. During the day when one gets sleepy, power naps are advisable. Though they should not take longer than 30 minutes otherwise night sleep will be affected.


Nutrition
It is recommended to eat lots of fruits and drink plenty of water for a healthy state of mind and alertness.

Eating a heavy meal especially before bed should be avoided. It is better to eat light foods at short intervals during the day than large quantities of food.

Caffeine can help you stay alert, but it will not prevent micro sleep. Instead, opt for vitamin supplements to give you that boost of energy.

Also of importance, alcohol should never be used to induce sleep. It will greatly reduce the quality of sleep and aggravate the situation. Nicotine should also be avoided before sleep.

Better yet, why not give up tobacco altogether?

Exercise
Exercise keeps the body refreshed and the mind alert. A jog in the morning will not hurt. Outdoor exercise during daylight hours can also help the body maintain natural biological rhythms and improve sleep quality off-duty.

Though caution should be taken not to overdo it or exercise 4 hours before sleep as this will affect the quality of sleep negatively.


Medical treatment
Micro sleep is often caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia. In extremely dire situations, it is advisable to seek medical care to deal with the disorders and subsequently manage the micro sleep.

Certain drugs are also known to contribute to micro sleep, hence you should always consult your doctor before starting on over-the-counter medication.

Lastly, stay alert. Keep your mind busy and interact with your colleagues, classmates or actively engage with persons which can act to keep those micro sleeps away.