Friday, April 30, 2010

Z for Zzzzz

The last day of the A to Z blogging challenge, and I wished I could bow out with something really profound, but there seem to be no Z words at all.
Zip? Something that joins together divergent parts- link it to the blogging challenge. Possible, but I don't think I can inject either the right level of seriousness, or strike the right chord of levity.
Zoo? Animals captive in a zoo, people captive in cages of their own making. Alternately, blogland as a zoo- animals from all over the world co-existing in harmony. Again, I am not upto the task.
Zebra - last week, someone blogged about how each zebra is unique, and of how we should embrace our inner zebra. You may as well read Don't fight the stripe, Joanne says it much better than I ever could.

But there is one Z that I can blog about.


I had forgotten to reset the alarm clock last night, and when it went off this morning, I got up feeling I was ready to face the day. But I knew I had gone to bed an hour later than normal, and that I would have another late night today, so I turned off the alarm clock and gifted myself an extra hour of sleep.

Six months back, I would not even have thought of doing so. Six week after my surgery when I was allowed to resume my normal life, I promised myself that I would go for a run six days a week- no excuses. And I did.

Whether I had slept for three hours or six, I would wake up the moment my alarm clock went off. There were days when all I wanted were a few extra minutes of sleep, but I would firmly tell myself "don't be lazy. Nobody died from lack of sleep."

Till somebody did. The 42 year old CEO of an MNC collapsed after returning from the gym - a man in perfect health, conscious of his diet, religious about exercise. The only thing he never found time for was sleep.

People could die from lack of sleep. I went into the details a couple of months back, but just in case you don't want to go back and read the old post, I am reposting the technical details at the end of this post.

Now, I make sure I get my six hours every night. On days when I go to bed after midnight, I skip going to the gym, and on days when I don't feel like getting up even after getting my six hours, I give my body the benefit of doubt.

Sleep is important. Now, off to grab my Zzzzz!!!


Some facts on sleep deprivation –
- Short sleep duration (<5 or 5-6 hours) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009.
- Young people (25-49 years of age) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006.
- Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999.
- 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. Paper published in 2004.
- 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. Paper published in 2006.
I haven’t checked the sources of any of these facts, but, even if only a few of them are true, it is obvious that lack of sleep is something one should be concerned about.

I know most of us push ourselves to the extreme. Spend a couple of minutes taking the Epworth Sleepiness Test –


A score of 0-9 is considered normal. Anything above that, and you may want to take a relook at your life.

Did you pass? Surprisingly (and reassuringly), I did!
Posted by Picasa


Jaydee Morgan said...

Okay, this post was very informative - I never knew these risks from a lack of sleep. Thankfully, I passed (I love my sleep).

Have a great weekend and congrats on finishing the A-Z challenge :)

Mason Canyon said...

I'm definitely taking this test this afternoon when I can give it my full attention. I know sleep is important, I just didn't realize how much. Very informative post. Thanks.

Thoughts in Progress

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I promise to get 12 hours each night this weekend!

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Hi! Just found your blog and wanted to pop in and say nice job! Love the posts :D

Karen Walker said...

I had no idea one could die from lack of sleep. What an important piece of information to have. Thanks, Rayna. Glad you are getting your zzz's.


Very informative, thanks for the advice.

Congratulations on getting through the A to Z challenge.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

They are so cute when they are sleeping!

slommler said...

I love my sleep too! So good on you for rewarding yourself with that extra hour. And your little one is adorable!

Shannon said...

I only scored a 3, so I think I'm safe for now! So glad you were in this challenge! Great last post, you did well!

Jayne said...

Hello Rayna! Thank you for poping by my blog, as now I am here at yours.:)

Aw, your son is a cutie. I am a big fan of getting my rightful time of sleep - I find I have to be in bed between 10 and 11 to get up at half 6. Any less and I am a grouch! :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Wow, I had no idea that lack of sleep was so dangerous. I'll read the older post too. I've suffered from insomnia since my early teens...wonder what kind of damage that has caused. 0_0

Momo's Ma said...

thats good info. thanks. i am like a switch. i can switch on and off to sleep at will. n get ur well deserved zzz after this challenge. :)

Saumya said...

So helpful!! Sleep is all too often neglected!
And your son is precious :)

Watery Tart said...

Oh, I LOVE my sleep... I have two nights a week I get less than six hours (the weekdays I get up early to exercise--Tu and Th) but other than that I do better, and I am a 10 hour a night girl on weekends--I probably average 7.

My score was 5, so I'm feeling okay...

Al said...

A lovely photo of your little one!

People forget to look after themselves in this mad world we live in now. Personally I can't do without sleep, if I miss just an hour or two for a few days I end up as a wreck.

Marjorie said...

Imagine people who do illicit drugs that also don't allow them to get any sleep! Wow, just wow.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yikes. I definitely need to get more sleep - thankfully my BP is always very good.

On a happier note - I've tagged you over at my blog :)

Anonymous said...

Zzzzzz is a good thing. Congrats! on finishing the A-Z challenge. Celebrate and do somtehing crazy. Just don't get caught.

Stephen Tremp

Lisa said...

Thankfully sleep deprivation is not a problem I've ever had. Great last post Rayna. Yours is the third Zzzzzzzz post I've seen so far. :)

Trudy said...

Such an interesting post Rayna and very timely for me to read since I will soon be bringing a newborn home and sleep will become something very precious and important to me! I did score a 7 on the was pretty close to falling off that scale and into dangerous territory. I will certainly remain conscious of my sleep patterns going forward.

A wonderful finish to the challenge my dear. It has been so wonderful meeting you and finding your blog. I know I wasn't around to visit all that often but I plan to continue to follow you and am so very pleased to have met you!

May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family!


Wanda said...

Interesting information Rayna. Learned something new. Great job on completing the challenge.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem to matter how tired I am, as soon as my head hits the pillow my brain starts racing and that's the end of any sleep. Very frustrating!Congrats on finishing the A-Z challenge woohoo :o)) xx I still have to look up your tree and compare to our pohutukawa.

arlee bird said...

Oh good, I passed. ZZZZZZ is definitely a good way to end this challenge. Thank you for being such a integral part of the challenge. Your posts made us think and you did such a fine job commenting, which I think was really important in helping to keep everyone motivated.
Thank you for being a part of this and I'm sure this is not the end of the road for us by any means.

Tossing It Out

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jaydee - you are a lucky one!

@ Mason - I always thought that if I could feel fresh,it was enough. Apparently not :-(

@ Alex - hope you did!

@ Zoe - thank you.

@ Karen - yes, we do tend to neglect sleep. But it is imperitive to get enough of it

@ Yvonne - and I hope you are getting your ZZZZs

@ Diane - wish they did a little more of it, though

@ SueAnn - yes, that extra hour does make all the difference

@ Shannon - you are doing really great!

@ Jayne - the pleasure was all mine. I am a grouch when I don't exercise- sleep I could do without

@ Raquel - what is done, can't be undone. But in any case, I think it is a "this point forward" kind of thing

@ Momo's Ma - most days, I drop off to sleep the moment my head hits the pillow, but not always

@ Saumya - which is such a pity :-(

@ Tami - how you manage to squeeze so much into a day is beyond me

@ Al - I used to be happy that I could get by with so little sleep, but I am not so sure any more

@ Marjorie - I could never understand people who do drugs, with or without the sleep bit

@ Jemi - I guess it is people like us who need to be more careful

@ Stephen - thank you. Didn't end up doing anything, but it was nice to finish the challenge

@ Lisa - I guess now that the challenge is over, all we can think of is sleep

@ Trudy - with a new baby expected (any day now, isn't it?), now is the best time to be aware of sleep deprivation. With my first baby, I napped when he did

@ Wanda - thank you.

@ Niki - that is terrible, isn't it?

@ Lee - I loved being a part of the challenge. Thank you.


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