IELTS Essays: Cause and Effect – Sleep

Lack of Sleep 1

TOPIC: People nowadays sleep less than they used to in the past. What do you think is the reason behind this? What are the effects on individuals and people around them?


(1) This is a ’cause and effect’ essay. Aim for TWO causes and TWO effects.

(2) Organize your essay with a FOUR-PARAGRAPH structure: (i) Intro (ii) Causes (iii) Effects (iv) Conclusion

(3) Make sure you have some synonyms ready for the repeated words (e.g. “cause” –> “reason” “factor”, “effect” –> “consequence” “result” “outcome”

(4) In ALL essays, try to make your main ideas clear. You need to use a wide range of sentence structures, but try to keep your main ideas/topic sentences clear.

(5) Try to include ONE specific example in your essay. If you can’t think of a real one, make one up. As long as it supports your main point, it will be fine.

(6) It is VERY important that you answer ALL parts of the question in order to get a good mark for Task Response. Make sure you write about the effects for individuals AND those around them!

NOTE: The following contains two sample essays: a simple one and an advanced one. Comments and tips are added at the end of some paragraphs. Useful linking vocabulary is included in italics, while advanced/topic-specific vocabulary is included in bold. The advanced essay is written at a Band 9.0 level.

Lack of Sleep 2


People nowadays sleep less than they used to in the past. What do you think is the reason behind this? What are the effects on individuals and people around them?

In the past, people used to get more sleep than they do now. This essay will look at the causes of this and then assess the consequences for people who are not getting enough sleep as well as those around them.

COMMENT – (i) Remember that you have to paraphrase the topic. A simple and effective way to do this is to change the grammatical structure. Compare the first essay of the introduction to the topic for a good example (ii) Notice how “reason” and “effects” are changed to “causes” and “consequences”.

One of the main causes of a lack of sleep is modern technology. Before smartphones, tablets, and other similar devices, people would usually watch TV or read a book before going to bed. However, now a person might spend hours in bed staring at a bright screen, which makes it difficult to fall asleep. Another major factor is that many people have to wake up early to go to work or school. For example, young people might stay up late using their phones, but then they have to wake up at 6am to go to school. Of course, this means that they will be tired and struggle to study effectively.

COMMENT – To make your grammar more complex, use “which” clauses to provide explanation or add extra details.

The effects of a lack of sleep can be extremely harmful. For individuals, it might cause them to feel low in energy and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. Furthermore, a lack of sleep can also effect people around us. Friends and family might lose their temper faster if they are tired and say or do something without thinking because their mind is exhausted. Moreover, tiredness can lead to someone accidentally killing another person. The thousands of road accidents every year caused by sleepy drivers is a good example of this.

Overall, a lack of sleep is mainly caused by new forms of technology and the pressure of modern life. The effects can range from small to huge, so it is very important that people get enough sleep. (283 words)

Lack of Sleep 4


People nowadays sleep less than they used to in the past. What do you think is the reason behind this? What are the effects on individuals and people around them?

While experts agree that everyone should aim to get a solid eight hours of sleep every night, the reality is much different. People are sleeping less and this is resulting is a range of alarming outcomes. So, what are the reasons for this shortage of sleep and how does it impact our lives and the lives of those around us?

Modern technology can should shoulder much of the blame for the current dearth of sleep. The screens of our phones, and other devices, emit a high volume of blue light, which tells our brains it is daytime. Obviously, if we use a phone in bed before we try to sleep, it will be much harder for our nervous system to know it is time to sleep. Another principal cause is the organization of our work and school lives. In other words, society is organized around an early wake-up time, and if people are not getting to sleep on time, they will struggle when they have to get out of bed at dawn the next day.

From the perspective of the individual, not sleeping enough can lead to physical and mental problems. Our bodies use sleep to repair themselves and consolidate what we learn during the day, so it goes without saying that only a few hours of sleep every night will lead to a broad spectrum of health issues. For those in our vicinity, the worst possible outcome is death. Traffic statistics showing a high percentage of fatal crashes caused by drowsy drivers are a sobering reminder of the effect sleep can have on the wider world.

In summary, the lack of sleep many of us suffer from can be attributed to the modern world and the technology we rely on. It is blindingly obvious that this sleep shortage has potentially disastrous effects and requires urgent attention. (306 words)


IELTS Essays (Basic to Band 9): Causes and Solutions – YOUTH CRIME

IELTS Sample Essays (Real Test): Reasons and Opinion – Sport and Gender

IELTS Band 9.0 Essays: Problems and Solutions – Urbanization




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