If you’re the type who regularly gets less than six hours of sleep, you may as well be drunk most of the time.
According to new research from a Canada-based health firm, being awake for 18 hours results in the same cognitive impairment people get from being drunk. This is so severe that driving while sleep deprived could be as dangerous as driving when drunk, researchers found.
Researchers found your brain becomes less stable for the longer you remain wake – which reduces your attention, ability to focus and use your brain on specific tasks. By the time you’re ready to go to bed after being awake for 3/4 of a day, your cognitive impairment is the same as having a blood alcohol content of 0.1%, which is legally drunk in most places.
Sleep deprivation has long been associated with acute cognitive impairment; however, more recent findings suggest that both the acute and long-term health implications of sleep deprivation are even broader and more complex than initially believed. Poor sleep habits have been linked to everything from mental and emotional health issues, to weakened immunity, to increased risk of obesity.
Research on sleep and cognition has shown that engaging in any cognitively demanding task while sleep deprived is risky – be it a physical like operating a vehicle, or an intellectual one like business-critical decision making.