Human brain taking tiny naps throughout the day

Human brain taking tiny naps throughout the day

PanARMENIAN.Net - If you've ever felt your eyelids droop for just a fraction of a second during some mundane task — like staring at a computer screen or driving down the highway — you've experienced a phenomenon known as "microsleep," ScienceAlert says.

Discover Magazine's blog The Crux recently spotlighted the experience, which happens when key parts of the brain switch off for a few seconds at a time. This means that, while you're not quite asleep, you're certainly not awake either.

"It's sort of like being a zombie for a few brief moments — sans the whole 'eating human flesh' part," Megan Schmidt wrote for the blog. "And usually, people don't realize it's happening to them."

And while this can happen to anyone, the sleep-deprived are consistently most at risk.

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker previously told Business Insider that "the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life."

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a traffic research and safety organization, around 16.5% of fatal car crashes in the US are caused by microsleep.

One of the biggest disasters involving microsleep, reports Discover Magazine, is the 2009 crash of AirFrance Flight 447 that resulted in 228 deaths. Once investigators listened to recordings from the plane, they found the captain complaining that he was running on just an hour of sleep.

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