The effects of micronaps

It is the dream that lasts from one to 15 seconds at a time. What benefits can they have? Are there any risks (based on when they occur, such as driving)? The effects of micronaps were analyzed in a formal study.
Penguins share this behavior. Some of them have hundreds of micronaps during the day, protecting their chicks from predators. The average nap time was 4 seconds. It may not seem like much, but when added together, they gave 11 hours of sleep each day.

The effects of micronaps were studied extensively to understand how they affected daily life.
The effects of micronaps were studied extensively to understand how they affected daily life.

Table of Contents

Do not sleep

In 2014, brain scans, video recordings of people's eyes, and electroencephalogram equipment were used in humans to measure the phenomenon. They were given a very boring task while they were scanned. 70% had at least 36 micronaps during the 50-minute session.
Other researchers, from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, gave people a fake steering wheel and a route they had to follow. They observed that they became sleepy from boredom. The more fatigued we are, the more likely we are to microsleep. These naps are most common in the afternoons and evenings and often precede a longer period of sleep.
In another experiment, volunteers were made to not sleep an entire night to measure the number of naps this caused. Of course, it was much more than average. But something interesting was discovered. People who slept 6 hours a night for two weeks had the same number of naps. And many did not know that they had been taken.

In Japan, an experiment was done with 15,000 drivers. Dashboard camera footage from 52 of its professional drivers was analyzed. These had been involved in collisions after falling asleep. Three-quarters of them showed signs of a micronap before the collision.

A micronap while driving can be fatal.
A micronap while driving can be fatal.


That could be used for an automatic system that detects that a driver is about to fall asleep. It's not just about closing your eyes, you have to observe broader movements of the body. Drivers must be aware that we are sleepy. If we are exhausted, simply trying to concentrate is not always enough.
The effects of micronaps can be fatal. On a long trip you should stop in a safe place as soon as you feel tired. Drink coffee and take a nap before getting back on the road. If micronaps are very frequent, this could suggest that we are not getting enough sleep.

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