Nodding Off Can Be a Serious Problem

In the specialized jargon of the medical profession relating to sleep, it’s called “microsleep.”

Everyone else calls it “nodding off.”

Calling it nodding off is much clearer. The common, layperson’s term lends itself to being recognized for the problem it is.

The specialized language is sterile, drained of meaning.

Nodding off is the same as microsleeping

Unlike many other terms in Medicalese, microsleep sounds less serious.

Micro means “small.” Sleep is what you do when you lie down in bed.

Put them together and it sounds like you’re sleeping for a short period of time.

Not bad, right? At least you’re getting some sleep.


And if you microsleep when you’re driving a car or some other kind of conveyance, maybe DEAD WRONG.

Further, microsleeping doesn’t count as sleep.

When you call it nodding off, you understand that.

If you nod off in front of the TV, your roommate will likely say, “Why don’t you go to bed?”

Sleep is when your body repairs itself and does the maintenance that allows memories to be created. Things like that.

Microsleeping or nodding off is your body crying for help. It’s pointing out that there’s a problem.

You’re not supposed to be nodding off.

Several causes

Maybe it’s the result of drugs or alcohol.

Maybe it’s from not sleeping enough.

Maybe it’s from having to spend too long trying to go to sleep.

Whatever the cause, it shows there’s a problem.

Get some help or try to help yourself, lest you nod off—or microsleep—at the wrong time.


Further reading on the blog:

Sleep Skills: Physical Constraints, a Tree, and You’re Asleep at the Wheel

2050: Self-Driving Cars Beget A Sleep Dystopia


James Cobb, RN, MSN is the founder of the Dream Recovery System, one of the top sleep blogs on the Internet, as listed by 

We use some affiliate links on this blog. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission. This arrangement has no effect on our opinions. 

There's gold (figurative) in your dreams.
Join our list today.