The shocking impact of not getting enough sleep

Sleep specialists at the Royal Mental Health Centre in Ottawa have discovered that sleeping less than six hours a night means you’re as impaired as a person who has a blood alcohol level of 0.05.

I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that there are many nights where I don’t sleep more than six hours and I always assume I’m not performing at my best. But I never realized I was as impaired as someone who’s been drinking.

Earlier this month I interviewed Dr. Brian Murray, a sleep scientist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and he echoed the findings of the scientists in Ottawa.

“If you’re completely sleep deprived for a day, your neuro-psychological performance is equivalent to having a blood-alcohol content which not be permitted on the road,” he said.

It’s startling to find out that driving after a poor night’s sleep means you’re as impaired as a drunk driver. Actually that’s not startling, it’s terrifying.

I think many people think sleep deprivation is an inevitable problem of lifekids, work and chores all get in the way of a good night’s rest. But sleep deprivation is a serious problem and has been linked to many health problems including depression, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. And after these startling findings from the Royal Mental Health Centre, I think it gives Canadians even more of a reason to make sleep a priority.

We have many helpful tips to help you get a better night’s rest, including what foods you should and shouldn’t eat before bed. Plus, check out our May issue to find out how sleeping too littleor too muchimpacts your body.

What’s your best sleep tip?