Do Indians Get Enough SLEEP?

I’m telling you about on Sleep habits among Indians?

Aviral is a Man .Aviral knew he was dead tired. Though it had been more than thirty eight hours since the forty four year old marketing executive returned to Delhi early one morning from New York, he was still recovering from jet lag. He had forced himself to remain awake the whole day as he had hoped to coerce his body into sleeping at night.

But the much needed sleep seemed to elude him completely. “I hardly managed any sleep that night,” Aviral recalled. The time change had completely disrupted his sleep pattern, and when he got out of bed at 7a.m. to head for office, he was entirely ill at ease, to say the least. At the office, he could barely concentrate on his work.

Aviral wasn’t aware simply how exhausted he was until he had driven a quarter of the twenty-four kilometre stretch on his way back home in the suburbs of Delhi. He halted at a busy signal on the way, but fell asleep suddenly at the wheel. He dazed after the motorist behind him honked. Aviral drove on, but feeling woke up he couldn’t focus any further, he decided to pull off the main road and parked the car in a quiet place. Then, he rolled down the windows a bit and managed to take a two-hour nap in his car. It was only after that that Aviral could drive home safely.

It is an undisputed fact that not getting enough sleep can lead to problems in concentrating. In fact many sleep disorder experts think that lack of sleep is the reason for many ailments. Dr. Kumar Menon and his colleagues presented a study paper on sleep disorders in Mumbai in which they stressed on the need for early detection of the problem and concluded that it was high time that all the physicians “woke up to sleep disorders and included sleep history in evaluating their patients.”

Whatever be the cause of not getting proper and enough sleep, we’ve all experienced the exhaustion caused by lack of sleep. Thus, sleep is as important to a healthy lifestyle as eating properly and exercising. Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the simplest things we can do to stay healthy.

A good night’s sleep means waking up rested and invigorated. On an average, a healthy adult requires just over eight hours of sleep a night, according to Dr. Jeffrey Lipsitz, a Canadian expert on sleep disorders. However, the amount of sleep it takes to rejuvenate an individual varies from person to person. “It’s not a fixed number,” opines Joseph De Koninck, a renowned professor of psychology, adding that if one consistently gets less sleep than one needs, then “a sleep deficit accumulates.” The time it takes for a sleep deficit to accrue depends on how consistent the problem is. “Missing a couple of hours of sleep every night for a week is probably enough,” says another psychiatrist Robert Levitan.

Swarup Chatterjee, the 28 year-old IIM graduate and assistant manager at a BPO in Hyderabad, knows very well that he doesn’t get enough sleep. “I haven’t had more than four to five hours of sleep for the last three years. There’s always so much that needs to be done in my professional as well as personal life that I am constantly thinking.” Swarup is fully aware that all that is very stressful and he admits that even though he has high energy levels, he is often tired and so he drinks several cups of coffee to counter the fatigue. “But I know that I’ll be able to concentrate better if only I got more sleep,” Chatterjee concludes.

In a study conducted by sleep-disorder experts, it was found that at least one- third of adults have significant sleep loss, i.e. they have just six and a half hours or less of sleep every night. Then a recent survey conducted in India has shown that twenty-nine percent of Indians went to sleep only after midnight and sixty-one percent slept for seven hours or less. The survey also arrived at the conclusion that Indians were among the world’s earliest risers, with sixty-four percent getting out of bed before 7a.m. Is there a need to reiterate that “Early to Rise” is good provided a person follows the “Early to Bed” principle as well?

Sleep is crucial to maintaining one’s health. Without it, we increase our susceptibility to an astonishing array of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Not sleeping enough can compromise your immune system, says Stanley Coren, noted professor of psychology and author of the very popular book, “Sleep Thieves”. You eat well and exercise in order to keep your immune system up, Coren goes on to explain, but if you aren’t sleeping, you undo all that good work. “The immune system works best when you are sleeping,” he says. “That’s when your natural killer cells are generated.”

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Natural killer cells are produced in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph fluid. They are part of the body’s defence mechanism against viruses, bacteria, even cancer, and they do not work properly in the persons who are sleep- deprived. A study in Turkey revealed that after 24 hours of sleep deprivation, the percentage of natural killer cells in the blood declined by 37 percent. Another study in the USA conducted on 23 boys and men found that one night of partial sleep-deprivation reduced natural-killer-cell activity to 72 percent of normal levels. Though their activity returns to normal when we begin to get proper sleep, the real problem is that a lot of damage might have been done to our bodies when we were sleep-deprived for several nights and our immune system might have left us undefended and susceptible to infection.

Sleep is important in keeping not only our waistline trim, but ensuring a balanced brain activity too. During sleep, brain neurotransmitters-the chemicals that deliver messages between nerve cells in the brain-are replenished. When we do not sleep well, our brain chemicals become depleted which leads to emotional disturbances like depression, anxiety and general feelings of sadness, anger and irritation.

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