We are quick to blame our modern lifestyle for all our failings towards keeping and maintaining good health. If we cannot catch up with physical exercise or the mandated number of hours of sleep per day, we ascribe it to our hectic work schedule. It has become our habit to heap the entire blame about our deteriorating general health conditions on things that are outside our control rather than seeking redressal through things that are largely within one’s control. How far is it justified to curse and point finger at external reasons? Is it not a farce that we frequently indulge in this behaviour while we ourselves are to be blamed, fair and square? Spending too much time on your cell phone catching up with all the social media till small hours, late night jaunts and serenades, movies, entertainment and parties and professional demands that spill well into your personal time are all responsible for loss of sleep. Exercising indiscretion in handling your own affairs, both personal as well as professional, is another big reason why you are unable to sleep soundly as well as long enough. These are all mindless things that lead us to grave consequences promising to play havoc with our overall health. Blaming modern lifestyle is all too easy but don’t you feel that the buck should stop somewhere? It will happen when we sit up and accept personal responsibility for our indiscriminate and reckless behaviour and vow to change all that stands in the way.
People often brag about catching scant sleep of about 4 to 5 hours per day. What they forget as well as overlook is that this way, they do more harm than any good to their body and health. They believe it to be a sign of great strength and endurance. On the contrary all studies show that a lack of sleep causes many significant changes in the body including increased risk of serious health issues such as disease, hormonal imbalance, obesity and even early death.
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Why do we need to sleep at all? Why is sleep important? We often believe that sleeping is just another biological activity that gives rest to the mind, body and soul. We all are well aware of the effects of sleep deprivation and what it does to us. Not getting enough sleep is bad for us. While we sleep, our body utilises this time to relax and repair itself. After a good night sleep, we become more alert and focussed apart from recharging our energy reserves. Sleep deprived individuals are more irritable, less alert and prone to making mistakes as cognitive ability reduces to a large extent. In the absence of proper sleep, skin stops glowing as dead cells do not get a chance to repair. In this situation, hair too start falling more rapidly. A sound and peaceful sleep helps reduce anxiety and depression too. However, these are not the only benefits of sleeping, there are a lot more. What most of us might not be aware of is that sleeping helps slow down the process of ageing drastically by keeping the heart healthy and young. In other words, sleeping helps reduce Excessive Heart Age (EHA) by keeping the risk of cardiovascular diseases at bay. Not taking enough sleep causes arteries to harden, thus leading to increased risk of heart failure and stroke. There have been many studies conducted worldwide that point out the above-mentioned benefits of sleep. One such credible study was conducted by the US National Health and Nutrition Examination in which 12,775 adults in the age range of 30 to 74 years were included in the survey spanning eight years from 2007 to 2014. These individuals self-reported the number of hours of sleep they caught per day and on this basis, they were divided into 5 categories such as less than 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 or more hours of sleep. The authors of the study used a complex algorithm called as the Framingham heart age algorithm to calculate an individual’s heart age as well as use multi-variable linear logical regression to observe if there was any association between the number of hours of sleep and EHA. The results were quite an eye opener. The study shows that Excessive Heart Age or EHA is lowest among individuals who sleep seven hours a day. However, sleeping for either less than 7 or greater than 7 are found to be associated with increased EHA. Sleeping too little and too much is fraught with higher risk to our health. However, sleeping too little is a shade riskier as it hastens the age of heart to a greater degree.
So, what is the optimum number of hours of sleep an individual should get on a daily basis? Medical practitioners recommend between 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep per day that is considered most beneficial for an individual. During this duration the body gets enough time to heal and repair itself, maintain lower heart age, ward off the risk of heart diseases, strokes and a few cancers. So, no matter what your work schedule looks like or how busy you have been, it is of utmost importance that you catch up with the mandated daily hours of sound sleep.
[ Also Read: Mental health is far more important than physical health ]
So, from now on would you catch up with about 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep daily?
7 to 8 hours of sleep is really good for your heart. Nice informative article.
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