Getting This Little Sleep Is Basically The Same As Being Drunk

Not the news we needed to hear today, TBH.
Tamer Dagas via Getty Images

At this point in my life, I’m starting to wonder if there’s a sustainable amount of sleep that will *actually* leave me feeling rested. Like most people in the UK, I regularly fail to catch enough shut-eye a night; and yes, it does have its effects on me in the morning.

From poor concentration to accidental rudeness and even excess snacking, the effects of little sleep on my life are almost, but not quite, substantial enough to get me on a regular nodding-off schedule. But if you’re in the same boat, you might want to reconsider: it turns out that a bad night’s sleep can have more or less the same effect on us as being drunk.

The founder of Levitex, James Leinhardt, shared that “The recent research we conducted found that 29% of people in the UK get less than five
hours sleep each night – that’s almost one-third of the nation. The brain of someone who has been awake for 19 hours functions like someone who is legally drunk.”

So we thought we’d share how a poor night’s sleep can affect you as much as alcohol.

The Centre For Disease Control agrees

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that “Being awake for 17 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%,” while ”Being awake for 24 hours is similar to having a BAC of 0.10%.”

Leinhardt shared that the symptoms of sleep deprivation can include:

  • Lower attention spans
  • Lowered motivation
  • Impaired speech
  • Slower movement
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Poor judgement
  • Loss of balance
  • Vision problems

If all of that sounds familiar, it might be time to consider revamping your sleeping sitch. After all, “Take these effects into a work context and you can see how it impacts everyday tasks, including productivity. It can also have an influence on personal lives, placing huge pressures on things like relationships and the ability to engage in social interactions,” Leinhardt said.

So what can I do about it?

Leinhardt reckons that stressing out over the magic eight hours of sleep might not be realistic for most – and adds that quality is more important than quantity, anyway.

“First of all, consider the position you lie in at night. The best position you can sleep in is what we call ‘The Dreamer’ – a semi-foetal position with your knees bent. This is well-evidenced to put the least amount of tension through your spine whilst you sleep,” he stated.

He added that choosing a not-too-soft mattress and pillow for your bed is a great way to add some extra oomph to your snoozes. “Focus on fixing your sleep posture and choosing the best sleep surface (mattress and
pillows) and you should begin to see an improvement in the quality of your sleep,” Leinhardt advises.

Speak to your doctor if you think you might have a sleep disorder. But if you’re staying up late on the reg because of work, entertainment, or lifestyle choices, it’s probably time to think about how you can change up your habits for some higher-quality shut-eye.