The competitive economy has created a first world problem – stressful work environment and longer working hours. According to findings of the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2015 published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) which tracked 133 global cities, Singapore has remain the world’s most expensive city for the second year running . Read the Straits Times article published on 3 March here. (Photo credit: consumerreports.org)
Of late, I am also guilty of sleeping too late at night and trying to play catch up with a 15 mins siesta during lunch time if I can afford to. I really disliked the feeling of being sleep deprived during the day and being low in energy, as I would depend on coffee and some unhealthy foods for a quick energy boost. I become very short-tempered (not a good thing if I am at work) and cranky. The vicious cycle continues.
Getting sufficient sleep in a day is critical for good health. Are we sleeping enough and how does lack of sleep hurt our health in the long run? Are you a morning person or a night owl?
So what are some of the reasons for not sleeping enough?
- Burning the midnight oil for exam
- Staying up late for social and leisure activities to make up for loss time at work (e.g., checking social media, surfing internet & watching dramas)
- Young children at home
- To achieve more during wake time as 24 hours a day is simply not enough
The following are what most people think are the ill-effects of lack of sleep:
- Loss of concentration in the day
- Eye bags and dark circles
- Bad skin and acne
But in actual fact, people who are not getting enough sleep (at least 7.5-8 hrs a day) are at greater risk of suffering from obesity, heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Recent studies have suggested that sleeping less than five hours — or more than nine hours — a night appears to increase the likelihood of weight gain (source: Mayo Clinic). In one study, recurrent sleep deprivation in men tend to increase their preferences for high-calorie foods and their overall calorie intake.
Poor sleepers tend to eat more and are more likely to be obese, so they are at greater risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, which lead to heart attacks and strokes. This is because sleep duration can affect the hormones regulating hunger — ghrelin and leptin — and in turn stimulates your appetite. Lack of sleep also causes fatigue and results in less physical activity.
Not having enough sleep decreases the levels of leptin in our blood, which means that we do not easily feel full after eating.
At the same time, it increases the levels of ghrelin which is responsible for triggering our appetite, thus making us feel hungrier. The end result is that we will eat more when we do not have enough sleep.
Their findings, published in the European Heart Journal, show that people who slept for less than six hours were 48 per cent more likely to develop or die from heart disease and 15 per cent more likely to develop or die from a stroke.
Indeed, our ‘work hard, play hard’ society may have encourage us to sacrifice our precious sleep and compromise our health.
Not all 8 hours are created equally
Please feel free to leave your comments below if you like to share tips on how to sleep better, etc. 🙂