Sleeping late doesn’t mean you are lazy!
In India rising early is a virtue. And sleeping late is considered sloth. Even though now we know that there is no such thing as too much sleep or unnecessary sleep, these attitudes persist. Even though now we know that sleeping isn’t like eating. Our appetite for sleep doesn’t grow as we take in more and more. If we sleep, it means we need it.
But even though science has now proven it, our sleeping habits are getting worse. High pressures at school and at work, the advent of the internet, long hours of commuting, increased travel, as well as the idiot box have all ensured that we keep awake well beyond our tolerance levels.
In India students have it bad. An unreasonable academic load from primary school plus the pressure of a society which believes in rising early. And ofcourse, the pressures of a new lifestyle of chat rooms and the internet that adolescents face.
I was not at all surprised to read about survey that showed that Indian students are getting less sleep as compared to their counterparts in Caucasian countries. I see it everywhere around me, and I also see people congratulating themselves for getting less sleep!
Fatigue, lack of mental alertness and concentration, confusion, poorer judgment, impatience and irritability. Increased likelihood of depression, moodiness and bad temper.
Serious physical symptoms can include aching muscles, blurred vision, dark circles under the eyes, headaches, dizziness, nausea, slowed reaction time, sore throat stuffy nose, Increased likelihood of , Microsleep (brief periods of involuntary sleeping that range from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration).
But there’s more! Chronic lack of sleep can do serious damage. It can lead to a weakened immune system, hallucinations (visual and auditory), hand tremors, hyperactivity, weight loss or gain and even contribute to serious health problems like hypertension, psychosis, attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, alcoholism and increase the risk of major illnesses like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity!
But why should such serious diseases be linked to a lack of sleep? Here’s why:–
A sleep deficit is thought to put the body into a state of high alert, increasing the production of stress hormones and driving up blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, people who are sleep-deprived have elevated levels of substances in the blood that indicate a heightened state of inflammation in the body, which has also recently emerged as a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes… even mild sleep deprivation quickly disrupts normal levels of the recently discovered hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite. That fits with the theory that humans may be genetically wired to be awake at night only when they need to be searching for food or fending off danger — circumstances when they would need to eat to have enough energy.
In addition, studies show sleep-deprived people tend to develop problems regulating their blood sugar, which may put them at increased risk for diabetes.
How much sleep is needed?
Children: 10-12 hours a night
Adolescents: At least 9 hours
Adults: 7.5 to 8 hours, plus or minus an hour. Requirements can decrease as people go past middle-age. Depends on the individual.
- yawn often
- have a tendency to doze off when not active for a while
- find it difficult to wake up
- are groggy when you do
…then you could be sleep-deprived!
Time to re-think that schedule then.