Updated: Jun 21, 2020
A cardiologist attending a 60th birthday celebration commented to the host if he had realized that he had spent 21 years of his 60 years of existence sleeping. Yes! 1/3rd of our life goes away in sleeping.
How is our quality of sleep? It indeed impacts our quality of wakefulness!
Abraham Maslow stated sleep as one of the basic/physiological needs in the 5 stage Hierarchy of Needs.
An important question to ask ourselves is: “Do I sleep well enough or am I trading off my sleep time with office work, other personal priorities, parties, night outs.etc?”
Initially I was careless about my sleep cycle too, until I read that -
¨ Short sleep (<=5 hours ) increases risk of high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who sleep longer than 6 hours per night
¨ Young people (25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less
¨ Individuals who sleep less than 5 hours a night have a 3-fold increased risk of heart attack
¨ Incomplete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!
¨ Just one night of sleep loss increases highly toxic substances in the body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). These increase the risk of many medical conditions such as cancer, arthritis and heart disease
Sleep helps us thrive by increasing the cellular hormones – cytokines which strengthen the body’s immune system. It balances our appetite by regulating the levels of the hormones - ghrelin and leptin, which trigger feelings of hunger and fullness.
Many young adults risk their life due to work pressure and other avoidable social activities. Corporate life is getting hectic by the day with the span of work becoming global. Boundaryless work hours steal our sleep creating a sleep debt which may not be recoverable, and may thus affect our longevity.
People often recommend sleeping over difficult problems or decisions, That advice seems well founded as studies suggest that it’s important to get enough rest the night before a mentally challenging task. Recent studies also reveal that people can learn a task better if they are well rested. Sleep time of 7 to 8 hrs is good to help the body and mind to be fully charged.
It is high time we realise the importance of work life balance in our life and not cherish short term successes at the cost of our longevity!
Wake up now! And sleep well!