What is microsleep?
A microsleep is a brief, unintentional period of light sleep. A microsleep episode lasts from 2 to 30 seconds. During this time the sleeper may appear to be staring blankly, his eyes may close, and then his head may snap to attention. Even if the sleeper's eyes are open, he is not able to react to stimuli including red lights, stop signs, and objects in the road. "Nodding off" is a descriptive term for microsleep.
Who is at risk for microsleep?
People with sleep apnea are at high risk for microsleep. So are people who sleep less than six hours a night or who do shift work.
People who microsleep rarely realize that they have even fallen asleep. This is especially dangerous while driving, since a car travelling forty miles per hour can travel nearly 60 feet in one second. Just a few seconds of unconsciousness can lead to a near-miss accident or a deadly Clay County car crash.
You are at risk for microsleep if you feel extremely tired while you are driving. Warning symptoms include restlessness, irritability, boredom and frequent yawning. Only actual, restful sleep can prevent episodes of microsleep.
If you suffer from sleep apnea (or heavy snoring), speak to your doctor. Your sleeping disorder affects your safety and the safety of others on the road. There are medical interventions that can help you get the sleep you need to prevent passing out from exhaustion behind the wheel.
Microsleep lasts only a few seconds, but the effects of a crash can last a lifetime. If you are the victim of a Missouri car accident caused by a drowsy driver, contact our Clay County, MO auto accident lawyers. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. In fact, multi-million dollar settlements have been awarded to victims of drowsy drivers.
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