Why are Micro Naps Dangerous?

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The dangers of micro naps can vary. It is not the same to go on the bus or the subway, fall asleep for a few seconds or minutes, and wake up in a completely different station than the one you had planned to go in your car, nodding for a moment when having a micro nap.

This could have a more serious consequence, such as seeing yourself in an accident that not only puts your life at risk but also that of many other people around you.

What is a Micro Nap?

And we are not referring to the simple fact of closing your eyes, nor to traditional naps—those of 15 to 20 or even 30 minutes that you take at certain times of the day to recharge your batteries—but to those moments in which you lose consciousness completely and can be considered a short sleep episode, although not that short. The Sleep Foundation explains that experts define micro naps as sleep episodes that last 15 seconds or less.

It may seem like very little to you, but those 15 seconds can become one of the factors that make car accidents happen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider that it takes only 5 seconds to cause an accident, while experts from the Cleveland Clinic refer to the fact that they can last a little longer, up to 30 seconds.

Causes of Micro Naps

Invariably, if you detect that this is happening to you, it means that you are lacking rest and hours of sleep. That is why people with sleep disorders, such as obstructive apnea or other similar ones, have a greater probability of presenting them. And another interesting thing that happens is that they usually happen when people are doing activities that are monotonous, like driving, reading a book, or watching TV.

In addition, one person may experience them differently from another, but something that is common to most of them is that they close their eyes, experience lapses in attention, and lose consciousness while in control of or executing activities. Now, other reasons that could make you experience a micro nap are:

  • Drink alcohol.
  • Taking medications such as sedatives or those with hypnotic qualities such as antihistamines or sleeping pills
  • work night shifts.

Regarding the brain, despite the fact that studies show that brain waves slow down considerably, they have shown that many of the parts of the brain that are deactivated during sleep remain active during micro naps, including those areas that are responsible for keeping the person awake or awake.

Symptoms of Micro Naps

So that you can recognize them, it will depend on the situation in which you find yourself. Some of the symptoms that you may experience, according to experts, are:

  • slow or constant blinking.
  • Having difficulty paying attention and concentrating. In addition, I am having trouble understanding the information.
  • waking up with a start and with sudden movements.
  • Excessive yawning.
  • Head.
  • Inability to remember the last two minutes or more.
  • Blank look.
  • They can occur with your eyes open.
  • Having a reduced response to external stimuli
  • Sometimes the dilation of the pupils appears.

The Dangers of Micro Naps

Literally in the blink of an eye, it can change your life. The main risks that can occur with micro naps are accidents because you are not attentive in the execution of the tasks you do.

At the level of health as such, they do not imply physical damage in the first instance, because if you have them in a safe environment, you would not really be exposed to a problem situation.

The most serious dangers are when driving, since according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, DC, an estimated 16.5% of crashes involve a drowsy driver. Another risk can be at work; for example, people who have to operate equipment or machinery will have a greater chance of being hurt or injured.

Another more harmless effect is that a lack of sleep may affect your body and your metabolism, or in the short term, cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, and concentration may be altered. And if it happens in the long term, you will be involved in problems such as mood disorders (depression or anxiety), cardiovascular disease, or heart attacks.

This is why experts recommend that you not only take care of your hours of sleep but also your quality of it.


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