Americans just can’t sleep. Fifty to 70 million U.S. adults have a chronic sleep disorder and one in three adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night according to the CDC. Now, a new extensive sleep study conducted in the UK by the University of Oxford and the Royal Society for Public Health is bringing to light more health risks associated with skimping on Zs. It covers what groups of people are most prone to sleep disorders, how losing sleep connects with cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental health, and how sleep ties to obesity.
One standout finding is that a lack of sleep affects the body the same way drinking alcohol does. Research found that after 17 hours without sleep, our alertness is similar to the effects of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%, which according to U.S. law is considered “impaired” on the legally drunk scale. After 24 hours without sleeping, the body is in the same state it’d be in at a BAC of 0.1%–well beyond the 0.08% BAC that identifies someone as legally drunk.
Basically, pulling all-nighters are just as bad for you as downing a couple of beers. Pick your poison. Or, you know, actually get some sleep.