Thursday, November 26, 2009

Short Sleep Duration Kills

Couple of weeks back, I received an email forwarded by someone in my office and the topic really intrigued me. What else could be so interesting besides my very own philosophy of life - SLEEPING! So I just want to share some bits and bytes of the information I got with you.

It revolves about the story of a successful man, Mr. Ranjan Das - CEO of SAP India Subcontinent, who died at just 42 years of age. Very young age to die I'd say.

What could possibly go so wrong with this guy? He eats healthy food, he did regular workout at gym and he was a marathon runner! He was a total fitness freak! But he just collapsed after his gym workout and died of a massive heart attack, about one month back in October 2009.

Maybe some of you may ask, "Was it stress from work that killed him?". C'mon, who doesn't live with stress? If you are fit enough, you can conquer the bad effects of stress. So probably stress didn't kill him.

So what was it? It's sleep. In an interview on the Boss' Day Out, Mr. Ranjan admitted that he had very little sleep everyday (4-5 hours a day), the only thing that he's lacking (besides having balance diet and regular workout).

What will happen if I didn't get enough sleep?
Blood pressure increases and high blood pressure kills. As I have records of having high blood pressure, I'm pretty concerned about stuffs that could make it worse. Researchers found that there is a linkage between sleep duration vs blood pressure. Individuals who slept fewer hours were significantly more likely to have higher systolic and diatolic blood pressure.

Each hour of reduction in sleep duration was associated with a 37 percent increase in the odds of developing high blood pressure. Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks.

Here are some other "not-so-fun facts"
  • Complete 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 very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis andheart disease.
  • Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease.

Ideal Sleep
One should have at least 7 hours of sleep everyday. Getting too little (or too much i.e. more than 9 hours) can deteriorates your health.

As some of you may know, there are 2 stages when we sleep - REM and Non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement). REM helps in mental consolidation while the Non-REM helps in physical repair and rebuilding.

So, if you wake up after 5-6 hours of sleep, you will be mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM Sleep). If you have less than 5 hours of sleep, your body will be in a complete physical mess and walk like a zombie (lack of Non-REM Sleep).

Want to know if you are getting enough sleep? Take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. I failed terribly...

Before I started blogging, I have knew the importance of sleeping. That's why I have wrote about sleeping during the early days of my blog - Sleepin'. So people, if you want to live longer, get enough sleep. Money can't buy back the sleep that you've missed. Sleep well, live healthy. Billy, out.

Source: Email (unknown)


Chun Hao said...

I disagree with the fact that you said stress didn't kill him. Stress could have mediate the effect of lack of sleep on death.

For example, women with recurrent breast cancer tend to show faster recurrence rate if they have previous highly stressful life events. It clearly shows that stress does play some effect on health behavior.

Also, the biological response of stress is very well documented, it could be the significant mediator or even moderator of death.

Also, I disagree with "If you are fit enough, you can conquer the bad effects of stress". Who says so? I do agree that keeping yourself fit does help to reduce stress, but to what extent?

There could be many other factors that contribute to his death, such as his personality, his job demand, his job strain, and so on.

gio said...

I think stress and lack of sleep are the major contribution to his death in this case, and lack of sleep is higher than stress.

i said so because:
- he did regular workout at gym, meaning he has a way to release the stress
- he is a marathon runner!! he has the endurance to cope with physical challenge and positive mindset to deal with the stress

The TVB actor who has just passed away yesterday is the similar case, he doesnt seems like having great stress in his work, but he has not enough sleep due to overload works.

Billy said...

[chun hao]
You're just stressing on the stress. My point in this post is about lack of sleep, not stress.

Of course he has a great deal of stress from work. But from what I see from the interview video, he has his way to deal with stress, and he has good time management. He has time to spend with his kids also.

Yes I agree that stress may cause higher occurence towards any type of illness. But it may not be the main cause of illness, instead, it could boost the chances of getting ill.

What will happen if you are stressed? Most probably you don't get enough sleep or rest, no appetite, busy working/studying/finding solution. So all these lead to unhealthy lifestyle. Keeping fit, having good time management and stay optimistic reduces the impact of a stressful life.

Yes there may be other factors that causes his death. But like I said earlier, I'm only focusing on the sleeping part, which I think plays a main role towards his death.

If you's like to know more about stress. Maybe I'll include it in my future post. Thanks for reading!! =)

Yes I agree with you. And according to the email, a marathon runner needs an extra hour of sleep compared to normal people because the fella needs the extra time to repair the physical damage after running. Thanks for reading too!! I never thought anyone would read the long post. =P

Chun Hao said...

Lol. I am studying stress XD

Billy said...

good, you can help me blog next time. =P

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