Quick But Potentially Deadly

One Week to Better Sleep Day 4: Physiology
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Transcript

Micro sleep. Have you ever experienced this? I shared in the introductory part of this course, a little story when I was an emergency medicine resident, working just hellacious hours on the trauma service. I would often have micro sleep on the way home Where are parts of my drive I didn't remember a few times I sort of came to my wit's in the ditch fortunately, never caused an accident, but it's a very well documented phenomena. And I'm going to share a little bit more about this. So what is micro sleep?

It's a very brief usually just a few seconds of sleep like state and if you're monitoring this on an eg a brainwave tool, you can actually see that the the brainwaves that occur with deeper sleep, theta and delta waves actually bought into the normal wake. brainwaves, alpha and beta awake state they didn't Delta are a more subdued state. And so what you see is the normal awake morphology pattern of the waves is disrupted by these spikes of sleep waves, if you will, probably the simplest way to say it. So micro sleep increases with sleep deprivation. And the takeaway point here is that it impairs cognitive function, it is critical to understand that. I mean, particularly if you're working in occupation, shift worker, or you know, even just trying to ingrain this in your teenager about, you know, getting sleep and driving home late at night.

And so what happens? Well, it impairs cognitive function, thought processes and reasoning. And it also causes something called visual neglect. And so, we know that from functional MRIs and other technology, we can measure how well the brain is perfusing and metabolizing and generating energy. And during sleep deprivation, the brain actually significantly decreases metabolism. This can be measured in the thinking parts of the brain and other parts of the brain.

But what happens and this is the critical part judging impulse control, attention, and visual Association are all impaired. And depending on the degree of sleep deprivation, that has an impact on all these factors, I shared in another section where we talked about sleep, depending on how much deprivation has occurred can be equivalent to being legally intoxicated to the point oh, five 2.8. And even some studies point one in terms of blood alcohol level, so it is a significant impairment. An example is researchers deprive subjects for sleep for one week, and they limited their sleep to three hours kind of similar to what you know a Navy SEAL might go through during Hell Week. And what they noted was a significant impairment in the ability to detect both central and peripheral visual stimuli. So basically, when you've got an object coming out of the corner of your eye, and something straight ahead, you cannot perceive perceive both you can't discern, you can't pick up the peripheral movement and that's a huge factor particularly in driving where lateral vision peripheral vision plays a huge role in traffic avoidance, and preventing accidents.

So I just wanted to share that with you in terms of micro sleep. And I'd be interested to know how many of you have experienced this in your lifetime.

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