If you’re not sleeping enough, it might feel the same as being drunk
The only thing we love more than sleep is talking about how much we love sleep, right? No matter how much we adore catching our Zzz’s, though, it seems that many of us aren’t getting enough of ’em — and it might be seriously messing with our health.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 70 million American adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. Almost half of us are snoring on the regular, 35 percent are getting less than seven hours of shut-eye a night, and nearly 38 percent say they’ve accidentally fall asleep during the day at least once in the past month due to tiredness.
There’s a lot more at risk here than just nodding off in a meeting, though. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the United Kingdom has conducted some studies of their own, showing that a pattern of crappy sleep contributes to increased risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and stroke. It could even up your chances of getting cancer. Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH, put it simply: “Poor sleep and sleep disorders impact on our ability to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Probably the most bizarre finding, though, is that not getting enough sleep also makes you feel like you’re actually drunk. Researchers found that 17 hours straight of no slumber gives you same level of alertness as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent. Taking it a step further, if you stay awake for 24 hours, your brain functions as if your BAC is a whopping 0.1 percent. If you didn’t know, 0.08 percent BAC is considered legally drunk. So getting behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been up for 20 hours or more is a really bad idea.
We know you’re busy, but keep in mind that your beauty sleep is super important, definitely more important than late-night Candy Crush or Netflix. Take a hint from the British Minister of Public Health and make sleep a priority — but for yourself, not the whole country.