You can only will yourself to stay awake for so long. Eventually, the brain decides it has had enough and you’ll conk out.
In the wake of the problems with air traffic controllers snoozing on the job, Morning Edition host Mary Louise Kelly talks with Harvard sleep specialist Dr. Charles Czeisler about the limits of human endurance — especially for people on the night shift….
…Just to be clear, chronic sleepiness isn’t confined the those on the graveyard shift. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more a third of Americans had less than 7 hours the night before they were question. And 38 percent of respondents said they had fallen asleep without meaning to during at least one day in the previous month.