A snap of the head. Prolonged eye closure. A blank stare. Most of us have experienced micro-sleeping at one time or another.\nMaybe you dozed for a few seconds in front of your computer screen or while watching a movie. Worse yet, you tuned out during a meeting or even behind the wheel. For some people, micro-sleeping is a chronic health issue, particularly in those who suffer from other sleep disorders.\nMicro-sleeping is characterized as brief and unintended episodes of sleep and loss of attention. Often lasting just seconds, micro-sleeps may occur when a person is fatigued or performing a monotonous task. In some circumstances, micro-sleeps can be life-threatening.\nEver tuned out during a meeting or behind the wheel? You may have experienced #microsleeping. Click To Tweet\nLittle Snooze, Big Problem: Dangers of Micro-Sleeping\nIt’s still not clear exactly what happens in your brain during a micro-sleep. However, researchers suspect that certain parts of your brain can fall asleep briefly during the day, even while other areas remain awake.\nIn addition to nodding off for a short amount of time \u2014 between a few seconds to up to a couple of minutes \u2014 micro-sleeping can cause behaviors such as staring blankly into space, closing your eyes, and snapping your head upwards. But many people keep their eyes open during a bout of micro-sleeping, making it difficult for observers to understand what’s happening.\nThat’s a concern, because micro-sleeping can put everyone at risk. It’s one thing to doze off at your desk but an entirely different issue to fall asleep while driving, operating machinery, or \u2014 in the case of pilots \u2014 flying a plane.\nReducing Your Risk of Micro-Sleeping\nTo reduce your risk of micro-sleeping, it helps to know your risk. You’re more likely to experience this problem if you have other sleep disorders, such as insomnia, and if you don’t get optimal amounts of shuteye.\nKeep in mind these tips to prevent micro-sleeping:\n\nQuick, 20-minute naps in between activities can sometimes prevent micro-sleeping. Just a few minutes of sleep can improve your overall state of alertness.\nIf you feel tired during the day and are unable to safely nap, be sure to take breaks or refrain from activities that could put you and others at risk.\nYou’re especially susceptible to micro-sleeping when you’re behind the wheel. Try listening to music or rolling down your windows. Warmth is a factor that makes us more likely to doze.\nIf you choose to drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage, remember that it may take 30 to 45 minutes for you to feel its effects. And when it’s time to get some shut-eye, caffeine may disrupt your natural sleep cycles.