Detecting microsleep can be difficult, as the symptoms of this frustrating condition can overlap with many other alike disorders. For sleep apnea sufferers, understanding when microsleep is likely to occur is paramount, as managing and regulating sleep routines will help prevent an episode from occurring. We describe the most common warning signs of microsleep, identifying the combination of issues that lead to episodes and continual fatigue.
Issues staying awake
Sleep apnea sufferers will know this feeling intimately; struggling to stay awake is a persistent problem, usually resulting in the need and desire for napping or continual sleeping. However, before an episode of microsleep, the ability to stay awake will intensely heighten, as you will likely be physically unable to keep your eyes open or stop the sleep from taking over.
Specifically, you will often feel your eyes closing, and the people around you will describe your appearance as blank or distant. When you’re fighting your body’s desire to sleep, you will experience consistent, excessive blinking, significantly more so than usual. Yawning is often common with microsleep; people attest to experiencing yawning persistently, usually during times of the day when yawning doesn’t occur or after normal sleep.
Fatigue and concentration aren’t friends. When your body feels continually tired, which a lot of sleep apnea sufferers experience, your focus becomes impossible to maintain, even during enjoyable activities and events. Before micro sleeping occurs, your concentration will be challenged considerably, often feeling like you can’t recover or continue with your activity. Most people describe the concentration affecting even the most common tasks, like food shopping or watching television. Some people will find themselves taking double the time to complete these tasks, and usually with little success.
Micro sleeping occurs commonly during driving, especially on long haul journeys and after little adequate sleep or preparation. When this sensation occurs, drivers tend to lose their ability to concentrate on the road, stay attentive to the driving conditions around them, or maintain control of the car altogether.
With your eyes closing, the head begins to nod, attempting to revive you and wake you back up. This experience is a microsleep episode, and, once occurred, should be addressed immediately. After feeling this sensation, avoid undertaking any serious or dangerous activities, such as driving, and address your fatigue levels with proper treatment options.