The demands of driving a large commercial truck can be exhausting. Nonetheless, it is important for truckers to remain responsible and get enough sleep or at least find opportunities to rest off the road. Otherwise, drowsiness and perhaps microsleep could result.
WebMD provides details about microsleep and why it can be dangerous for truckers or anyone who operates an automobile.
What is microsleep?
Going into microsleep is a form of sleep, but it is so brief that you might not notice it. Microsleep only lasts no more than 30 seconds. Sometimes people experience several episodes of microsleep close together. In many cases, the drowsy person is trying to stay awake but is not aware that he or she is in danger of nodding off.
What happens after microsleep?
Some signs indicate that you have been in microsleep. You could yawn or continuously blink your eyes. You might suddenly find your head tilting forward, perhaps after waking up from microsleep.
Microsleep can also disrupt your cognitive functions. You might not remember what just occurred. It can also be hard to process new events around you.
What causes microsleep?
Not getting enough sleep is the main cause of microsleep. This is a particular problem for truck drivers since their jobs often require long hours. Also, they may have to drive for long periods during the night. This can be disruptive to their circadian rhythm since the internal body clock induces sleep during nighttime hours.
A brief moment of sleep can cause a truck driver to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road. Cognitive disruptions can also break concentration. This makes it important for any driver to get proper sleep before getting behind the wheel.