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!