Sleeping while awake?
December 13, 2017 7:23pm CST
It's called microsleep. (Another term I have to thank the Internet for.) It makes me realize one thing: we don't necessarily understand the struggle that the human brain goes through, sometimes. You know that state between nodding off to sleep and jolting awake a few seconds after that? Parts of our brain actually shut down during those few seconds, but the rest remain awake. In other words, our brain nerve cells are tired, and they're demanding rest. The dangerous part of it is that we're often not aware of that brief unconsciousness, which is a common cause for road accidents. When was the last time you fell into microsleep? Do you often push yourself to stay awake?
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I sometimes deprive myself of sleep if I need to wake up early but couldn't go to bed as early. I experience the microsleep, and I tend to be very irritable until I hit the hay. There have been a few times I simply fell asleep, literally.
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• United States
I was asleep in the car coming home from dinner with my husband on a highway. He fell asleep, too, while driving and the crash against the divider woke us both. We returned a few days before from Hong Kong and had jet lag. Thank goodness we didn't kill anyone or ourselves. The car was dented badly, but we were able to drive it home and get it repaired. I guess my hubs fell into a microsleep.
Oh no, I'm so glad both of you didn't get hurt! My sister got into a similar accident too on her way to work but fortunately she didn't get hurt. She had to travel quite far back and forth at the time. It's scary how accidents can happen because of this!
i remember two incidents that happened to my co-workers, years apart, different companies. in the first one, two guys, both sleep deprived. the one driving was jolted awake when the wheels passed over the metal grates at the underpass. the other one was a female officemate whose mother was hospitalized. when she was driving home she was jolted awake when her car hit the curb on the right side of the highway. apparently it swerved from left to right while she was asleep. good thing in both cases, these people were in the non-rush hour side of the highway.
Oh no...they didn't get hurt did they? The most recent case happened to my younger sister, due to lack of sleep also. Fortunately she didn't get hurt. Some people aren't very lucky. I think some people are confident that they can push themselves to stay awake but it's really very dangerous to drive in that condition.
@cahaya1983 I still have no clue what they talked about, but I managed to say, 'yeah, really, Are you serious?' and made quite a few appropriate noise! A few times I got caught out when one said, 'Why did you say so? I asked you a question and you said, 'Really!'
• Johannesburg, South Africa
This happens to me most nights. I drift away in front of the tv I hear the tv and sounds around me, but as soon as I go to bed I seem wide awake, I wish the microsleep I have on the sofa in front of the tv would let me sleep when I head to bed.