Health Fo­cus

Don’t let loss of sleep play havoc with your sys­tem.

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS - DR PREETI DEVNANI Sleep Ther­a­pist [email protected], A Godrej In­te­rio Ini­tia­tive

The hu­man body re­quires sleep for a min­i­mum of one third of the to­tal hours in a day, which is eight hours. Mil­len­ni­als and baby boomers that form a ma­jor­ity of the adult pop­u­la­tion are par­tic­u­lar about their ex­er­cise regime and are aware of the food they eat. How­ever, im­por­tance of ad­e­quate sleep is com­pletely lost. A study via the Sleep-ome­ter, a sleep as­sess­ment tool by Godrej In­te­rio, speaks vol­umes about the sleep deficit that the na­tion is fac­ing. Be­low are the findings: Over 80% in­di­vid­u­als are mod­er­ate to se­verely sleep de­prived. Over 60% use smart phones and other de­vices be­fore bed­time. Only 9% sleep at 10 p.m, the rec­om­mended time to go to bed. More than 28% peo­ple sleep for only 4-6 hours ev­ery day. Over 32% shared they were un­able to sleep through the night. Nearly 70% of the re­spon­dents have poor sleep­ing habits. Nearly 40% shared they went to bed af­ter 12 p.m. Screen ad­di­tion (TV and mo­bile) ap­pears to be a ma­jor source (nearly 60%) in con­tribut­ing to sleep de­lay. All the above traits can be at­trib­uted to life­style changes such as stress due to work, eat­ing habits and changes in body clock. An en­tire gen­er­a­tion of adults does not seem to re­alise that the reper­cus­sions of in­suf­fi­cient sleep can be an­ni­hi­lat­ing. Sleep star­va­tion is ram­pant in India and needs to be kept in check be­fore it reaches dis­as­trous lev­els.


Stage1: Af­fects nor­mal hor­mone func­tion­ing: Nor­mally, our body pro­duces over 50 dif­fer­ent hor­mones daily. Dis­turbed or lack of sleep will dis­rupt the nor­mal pro­duc­tion of th­ese hor­mones. For ex­am­ple, the hu­man growth hor­mone that aids in growth and cell re­pair peaks dur­ing sleep. Lack of sleep will dis­rupt this pro­duc­tion, thus af­fect­ing our body’s nat­u­ral abil­ity to grow and re­pair the cells. Ad­di­tion­ally, other hor­mones that con­trol the me­tab­o­lism and hunger will also get af­fected, forc­ing the body to seek more food as a means to in­crease en­ergy lev­els in our body.

Stage 2: In­sta­bil­ity in the lev­els of en­ergy and mood swings Sus­tained lack of sleep has been known to lead to re­duced en­ergy lev­els, which fur­ther re­sults in un­sta­ble moods, ex­ces­sive sleepi­ness dur­ing the day and bursts of eu­pho­ria. While shift­ing at­ti­tudes can dis­rupt the nor­mal func­tion­ing of daily ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­ces­sive sleepi­ness dur­ing the day es­pe­cially can be hin­der­ing and even dan­ger­ous. This can lead to fre­quent lapses in fo­cus, forc­ing the body to seek re­prieve at any time. Th­ese in­ci­dences are known as ‘mi­crosleeps’ which are also known to be a con­tribut­ing

fac­tor to traf­fic ac­ci­dents as drowsy driv­ers tend to fall asleep at the wheel.

Stage 3: Leads to long-term ill­nesses, dis­eases and can­cer Your body may re­cover from not sleep­ing quickly, but if con­tin­ued over a pe­riod of time, the neg­a­tive long-term con­se­quences on health would have al­ready set in. For in­stance, the im­mune sys­tem would be the worst hit and un­able to de­fend the body ef­fec­tively. Poor and re­stricted sleep would lead to the de­vel­op­ment of spe­cific ill­nesses and dis­eases. Th­ese notably re­late to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases, di­a­betes, hy­per­ten­sion and even cer­tain types of can­cers.


Ram­pant sleep de­pri­va­tion is re­me­dial and can be curbed if con­scious ac­tion in fol­low­ing a sleep regime is taken. Some mea­sures to al­le­vi­ate the dis­com­fort as­so­ci­ated with sleep dis­or­ders are: Fol­low a rou­tine: Set the clock as per your bed­time and stick to it. Keep dis­trac­tions such as phones, gad­gets and late night TV shows away. Work to­wards get­ting good, on-time sleep and take it just as se­ri­ously as any other habit. Ex­er­cise: As we al­ready know, phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity of any kind is good for your body and sleep health. Try to do car­dio ex­er­cises at least four times a week or on al­ter­nate days. Car­dio ex­er­cises in­clude jog­ging, swim­ming, cy­cling or sim­ple walk­ing. Ask a sleep ex­pert: If you still think you are fac­ing is­sues while sleep­ing and are wor­ried you may be prone to heart prob­lems, con­sult a sleep doc­tor. To­gether, you may be able to fig­ure out what ex­actly is keep­ing you awake at night.

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