NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Negative Impacts on Sleep (Continued)


The human brain can respond to sleep deprivation by reducing alertness and generating microsleeps – involuntary episodes of sleep lasting a few seconds.

During microsleep, you may appear to be awake (eyes open), but your brain will not process information. Thus, lapses in attention occur.

A sleep-deprived person cannot control the onset of microsleeps and often is unaware that they are occurring.

Microsleep is detectible on ambulatory electroencephalograms (EEGs) and is strongly correlated with automobile crashes.9 Therefore, its occurrence during critical activities, such as driving and carrying out nursing care, is dangerous.

Module: 3, Page 3 of 28
Page last reviewed: March 31, 2020