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Is lack of sleep making you feel drunk at work?


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Photo: Stocksy/Aila Images

It’s probably safe to assume that you would never show up drunk to work, but chances are you’ve arrived tired. Now, ready to hear a scary fact? According to science, they’re basically the same thing.

Research has shown that even moderate sleep deprivation (clocking less than seven hours of zzz’s a night) can result in the same sort of cognitive impairments as drinking alcohol—not exactly an ideal state for tackling your to-do list. 

Unsurprisingly, things like thinking on your feet become harder to do than a gallop. “People can’t do tasks that require fast reactions,” says Ann Williamson, PhD, a professor at the University of New South Wales, who specializes in fatigue research. (She headed up the study highlighted above.)

Not getting enough downtime, however, doesn’t seem to impair your ability to do “problem solving tasks—things that perhaps require a bit more effort and reasoning,” she says.  

“Getting sufficient sleep is the most important thing you can do.”

But even if you can still function from nine to five without getting a good night’s sleep, there’s still plenty of reason to fully recharge on the reg—especially if your goal is to get ahead. Successful CEOs, like Arianna Huffington, savvy media maven and founder of the wellness platform Thrive Global, have become outspoken about keeping a set bedtime because they consider it a vital part of being a boss.

Huffington clocks a solid eight hours daily herself—though the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is seven-plus. So why’s she such a big fan of getting 40 winks if you want to put in a solid 40 hours (or more) at the office?

“[It] impacts virtually every element of what we think of as work productivity,” says the The Sleep Revolution author. “If your job involves decision-making, memory, creativity, learning, focus, attention, energy, communication, or collaboration, getting sufficient sleep is the most important thing you can do. And, even better, it’s available to everybody.” Unlike nap bars

If you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, two things that could help are working out and giving your bed a makeover.