Microsleep and My Macro-Fears

I never knew that microsleep was a thing. I should known though, as it is something I have been experiencing for the last few years. There just was not a label attached to it yet.

Microsleep does not care if it is night or day, or what you are doing. My doctor and I have discussed this at length and have concluded that this is due to my lack of sleep and sheer exhaustion. My eyes do not always even close, as my daughter has pointed out to me. "That is a little creepy Mom," she quips.

I have had people around me who have seen me go through microsleeping episodes, sometimes more than once in a social visit. I definitely do not always know it is happening, my eyes are wide open and it apparently looks like I have just zoned out, but I wake up with a startle.

What is microsleep?

Microsleep is sleep that only lasts a few seconds, and the scary thing is - the person who is experiencing the microsleep may not even know that they are experiencing it. This is something that has been happening to me for some years now. It has put me in some precarious situations.

Scary microsleep moments

Being a mom is something that I take very seriously. I have worked hard to be a good mom over the years, and being a single mom is tough as nails. Financially, emotionally, and just all around, really.

It also means that I often had no one to take care of my daughter, when she was smaller too. So, no matter how exhausted I was, if she was awake it was on me to be awake. One week after a very taxing week with work and a teething toddler, it was a quiet Saturday afternoon and we were just having some downtime.

My little girl had skipped her nap - teething is a real test of anyone's sanity. I had not gotten any sleep for about 6 or 7 days and I was broken. Sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and having some quiet playtime so we can all just be still if we can't nap.

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"Catch me!"

It felt like I blinked, and I looked up and my little girl, all 2 and half years old of her, was standing on the edge of the coffee table about to launch into a jump. A jump that she expected me to catch her from. She jumped before I could get her and she fell onto the floor and burst into tears.

It happened in about 0.5 seconds if I had to guess. My heart shattered and then I realized how dire that could have been. The consequences could have been very different, we got off lightly with a sore leg. And a very sore momma's heart, I could not believe that it had just happened.

Managing my macro-fears

I have very real fears about microsleeping, and it is one of the biggest reasons I try and manage my insomnia better. Driving when tired is an absolute no. There is no way that I can risk dosing off for even 2 seconds, that is all it takes for things to go drastically wrong. It could be a fatal mistake for me, my family, or someone else - a risk I could never take.

Microsleep can hit at any time, and that makes it very hard to predict. With keeping a note on when I notice it happening, I have been able to deduce a relative pattern. It is not always spot on but I do what I can to stay safe and prevent this from happening. More than 3 bad nights and I am more than likely going to start experiencing microsleeping.

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