Archive for November, 2011

You Need Sleep!!

A Share for EVERYONE – on INSUFFICIENT SLEEP (from an Indian source)

Ranjan Das, CEO and MD of SAP Indian subcontinent died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Wednesday. One of the youngest CEOs, he was 42

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India ?

A month ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra’s Carter Road.

Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapse with a massive heart attack and died.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India. However, it was even more disastrous for runners amongst us.

Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner ( in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away ), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age.Was it the stress?

A couple of you called me asking about the reasons. While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. So I doubted if the cause was stress.

The Real Reason

However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep.

The Evidence

Last week, I was working with a well-known cardiologist on the subject of ‘Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep’. ! While I cannot share the video nor the slides because of confidentiality reasons, I have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some Excerpts:

Short sleep duration ( <5 or 5-6 hours ) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night. Paper published in 2009.

As you know, high BP kills.Young people ( 25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. Paper published in 2006.

Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. Paper published in 1999.

Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!

Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL! -6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease. Paper published in 2004.

Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease.

Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Paper published in 2006.

Ideal Sleep

For lack of space, I cannot explain here the ideal sleep architecture. But in brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM ( Rapid Eye Movement ) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type.For you to be mentally alert during the day, ! the latter part of sleep is more important.

No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess ( lack of non-REM sleep ), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down ( I’ve been there, done that ).

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.

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Five toxic holiday gifts you should never buy a loved one for Christmas

Gift-giving is a wonderful activity, but many people who give gifts to family and friends don’t realize they’re actually giving the recipient cancer, or diabetes or attention deficit problems.

In this article, here are five dangerous gifts that may literally increase the risk of disease and death. Whatever you give your family and friends this holiday season, please avoid giving these five dangerous gifts:

Dangerous gift #1) Perfumes and colognes (promote cancer)

A typical perfume product contains over 20 cancer-causing chemicals, and they’re absorbed right through the skin. Perfumes and colognes — or any fragrance product, for that matter — are direct causes of cancer which remain utterly ignored by the cancer industry (that just happens to be more interested in high-profit treatments rather than profit-destroying prevention strategies).

The only “safe” perfume is one made entirely from essential oils. Legally speaking, nearly all perfumes sold in the state of California should be labeled with cancer warnings under Proposition 65, but the state never enforces this law against giant perfume corporations (interesting, huh?).

Dangerous gift #2) Processed meats, hams and sausages (promote cancer and diabetes)

You see these heavily promoted during the holiday season: Sausages, hams and other specialty meats, usually sold with natural-sounding language to make them appear wholesome and home-grown. In reality, almost 100% of these meats contain sodium nitrite, a dangerous cancer-causing chemical that’s used to turn these meats red and prevent spoilage by killing living organisms.

Sodium nitrite is linked to both an increase in cancer as well as type-2 diabetes due to harmful effects on the pancreas. The USDA once tried to ban sodium nitrite from the food supply in the 1970’s but was overruled by the meat industry (which now basically runs the USDA). While processed holiday meats might be a very effective gift to give someone you wanted to murder, they are simply not appropriate to give to someone you care for.

Dangerous gift #3) Video game consoles (promote violence)

Parents, if you’re about to buy video games for your kids, please reconsider your decision. Video game consoles now feature game content that’s more graphic and violent than ever, and they desensitize your children to acts of violence.

Even worse, some video games being designed today — “first-person shooters” — are actually developed by the U.S. military and used as recruiting tools that aggrandize war. A young male child who plays video games is not only more like to join the military and engage in mindless acts of violence, he is also more likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

There are some very good real-time strategy games that teach strategic thinking (such as Sid Meier’s Civilization series), but avoid giving your children first-person shooters or other extremely violent games.

Dangerous gift #4) Mobile phones (promote type-3 diabetes)

Very few people know that there’s another kind of diabetes called “type-3 diabetes.” It’s caused by electropollution. Quite literally, when some people are in the presence of strong electromagnetic fields, their blood sugar levels begin to swing wildly.

Mobile phones are one of the worst sources of electromagnetic pollution beamed right through your head. It’s far safer to use them with a bluetooth headset, and safer still to use them only as a texting device without voice calling. (The small bursts of text data transfer are miniscule compared to full-on voice broadcast.)

If you do want to give someone a mobile phone, make sure they’re not already diabetic (and buy them a bluetooth headset).

Dangerous gift #5) Clothing that’s full of GMOs, dyes and pesticides

This is a tough one, but nearly all the clothing sold in stores today is absolutely loaded with GMOs, dyes and pesticides. Let me explain:

Any clothing containing cotton is almost certainly GMO, as virtually all the cotton grown in America today is genetically modified. Of course, you’re not eating that pair of jeans, so this may not concern you personally, but there’s still a huge environmental impact of GMO cotton being grown on farms.

Far worse from a personal health perspective are the dyes. Clothing dyes are almost always toxic, cancer-causing chemicals, and if you’ve ever worn a new piece of clothing and later discovered some of the dye rubbed off on your arms or legs, you know how easily these dyes can transfer from the clothing to your skin (and then into your bloodstream).

Finally, all non-organic cotton is loaded with pesticides, and those pesticide chemicals can promote Parkinson’s disease, dementia and other brain disorders. The only cotton that’s free of pesticides is 100% organic cotton, which is available from a few specialty stores and online retailers.

SAFETY TIP: If you do buy someone a gift of clothing, or if you receive one yourself, wash the clothes in hot water (by themselves, without polluting your other clothing) and use an extra rinse cycle. Dry them in the dryer and then wash them again! This is the only way to remove most of the dyes and pesticides found in these clothes, and even this process doesn’t remove all the dangerous chemicals.

Remember this, too: Nearly all clothing containing cotton boosts the profits of Monsanto, which sells the genetically modified cotton seeds that farmers use to produce this cotton. So buying someone a pair of jeans for Christmas is essentially putting more money into Monsanto’s pocket.

It goes without saying, but…

In addition to the five toxic gifts mentioned above, please do not buy anyone a flu shot gift card unless you are literally trying to kill them. Flu shots often contain live viruses and may actually cause the flu.

They can also cause neurological side effects like seizures and vomiting. If you really want to help someone boost their defenses against the flu this holiday season, buy ’em some vitamin D (5,000 IUs is the recommended dosage).

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