A lack of sleep has the same effects as being drunk

According to new statistics, not getting enough sleep can have the same effects as alcohol.

Sleep apps

According to new statistics, not getting enough sleep can have the same effects as alcohol.

New data has emerged on the science behind sleep deprivation and it is pretty eye opening. We all know about the importance of getting enough sleep, with doctors, therapists and bloggers praising its age-old benefits. From improved heart health and happiness to diminishing cancer risks and preventing chronic diseases, the importance of sleep is incontrovertible. So why are so many people in the UK severely sleep deprived?

According to the Royal Society for Public Health – Brits could be missing out on as much as a full night of sleep every week. We repeat – we could be missing out on a full night’s sleep every week.

Now that we’ve got over that bombshell, here’s another: new data has revealed a lack of sleep's negative effects and it turns out that not enough kip can have the same effect on us as alcohol -– and no we don’t mean that it makes us ten times funnier and everyone around us 400 times more attractive. Scientific research has found that after 17 hours without sleep, an individual’s alertness and wakefulness is similar to the effects of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05% - and after 24 hours of no sleep, about the equivalent of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%.

The more tired you get, the more your muscle coordination, reaction time and concentration is impaired, which can lead to some pretty dangerous consequences.

Everyone knows the dangers of drink driving – with statistics and horror stories engrained in our memories – but what about driver fatigue? Research shows that almost 20% of roadside accidents are sleep-related, not to mention a quarter of fatal and serious accidents. The main cause of this? Falling asleep at the wheel. Not that we would ever argue the benefits of sleep before, but the recent comparison of fatigue to being drunk puts things in perspective. We wouldn’t go to work or drive under the influence of alcohol so maybe we should take that into consideration when exhausted.

So, we’re giving you this bulletproof excuse – put your feet up every once in a while, catch up on your sleep and refuel. It really is in everyone's best interest.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.