Sleep to shape

CONVENTIONAL wisdom has always believed in a good night’s sleep for overall health. Modern medical research only supported this belief of the ancients proving once again that popular social beliefs are often rooted in reality. Besides, a restful night — full eight hours of it — is essential to make your day productive.

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Published: Fri 26 May 2006, 11:43 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:21 PM

New research goes to strengthen the argument that sleep is important for both our physical and mental health. Researchers at Care Western University in US have established that a good night’s sleep is vital to keep you in ship shape. If you manage to get sufficient sleep on a regular basis, your chances of staying slim or becoming slimmer are significantly higher than those who do not.

That is, sleep is more important than those hopeless experiments with diet. Women who don’t get much sleep, up to five hours each night, are much more likely to have put on 15 kilos over a 16 year period —30 per cent more likely when compared to the women who managed to get seven hours of sleep each night. Light sleepers also have a significantly higher risk of becoming obese.

Interestingly, these findings are based on tests conducted on women. It is not clear why only women were chosen for the experiments especially when obesity is a problem that is not known to discriminate between sexes. In fact, in America itself, where obesity has assumed alarming proportions at national level, all sections of society cutting across distinctions such as race, colour, age and gender are affected by the weighty problem. Probably, women were chosen because of their sensitivity to weight and appearance issues.

Nonetheless, these findings make a powerful argument in favour of both men and women sleeping enough to stay in shape. But that is hardly a piece of cake in our ever stressful times. Life in the fast lane in our globalised world means less and less time for sleep. Few of us these days manage to get what is called a ‘good night’s sleep.’

Once it had been the fate of the night callers such as luckless lovers, owls and restless hacks to stay wide awake while the rest of the world lulled itself to what Keats called ‘soft slumber’. But today more and more people are far from refreshed and rejuvenated when they get up on the other side of the night. Even children are finding it hard to get enough rest, something that is vital for their physical and mental growth. A backbreaking burden of books, endless homework, television and Internet means less and less sleep. These new findings should make us pause and ponder. Don’t lose your sleep over them though!

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