Archive for August, 2015

Importance of 8 Hour Sleep

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Hectic lifestyle and stressful work schedules have led to a gradual reduction in the average amount of hours that people sleep and this pattern is seen extensively amongst full-time employees who frequently complain about poor health without even realizing that inadequate sleep is the culprit

Sleeping for less than 6 hours a day and still having sufficient energy to perform day-to-day activities is not something to brag about. Just like, food, water, and oxygen, sleep too plays a very important role in the existence of life. Lack of sleep is associated with cardiac problems, obesity and even early demise

Research shows that most people need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to function optimally. Sleeping less and being awake for several hours during the day is not a testament to your physical strength and endurance but a silent indication that your health is deteriorating.

Read on to learn about the importance of quality sleep, and what happens when you don’t get it.

Lack of sleep disrupts the hormone levels which lead to a considerable increase in the person’s appetite, making him/her feel hungry even when the body doesn’t need food.

Adequate sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and can have a positive impact on the lungs, kidneys, metabolism and weight control. If you’re chronically sleep-deprived, it can also affect your immune function, disease resistance, sensitivity to pain, mood and brain function. Recent studies have revealed that too much as well as too little sleep increases the risk of premature death. Low levels of immunity triggered by lack of sleep slow down the body’s natural defenses against microorganisms, thus increasing the risk of contracting various infections.

What’s more… it also predisposes a person to developing serious illnesses in the long run like diabetes, heart disease, colorectal polyps and even cancer.

Sleep is also considered to be a natural stress reliever. Reduced stress levels helps in keeping the blood pressure under control.

Lack of sleep leads to vision related issues. The longer you are awake, the more visual errors you’ll encounter, and the more likely you are to experience tunnel vision, double vision, and dimness.

Each one of us feels fatigued, irritated, disoriented and distracted after an occasional sleepless night but if this habit persists for long, it can impact the brain functioning to a large extent. Your brain will fog which in turn will hinder your confidence levels and decision making ability. You may even feel lethargic and sleepy during the day, which could also make you accident prone at home, work or on the road. Given that a single sleepless night can have such drastic repercussions the following day, you can only imagine what continued sleep loss could do to your mind and body. Experts believe it could lead to memory loss as well as long term mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

Regular sleep disruptions are also linked to infertility in both, men and women. Apparently, if you don’t allow the body to rest via sleep mode, the secretion of reproductive hormones is reduced thus causing problems in pregnancy.

If you sleep less than 8 hours a day, make necessary changes in your lifestyle before it is too late

6 Health Damaging Habits to Ditch this Festive Season

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

With festivities round the corner, it’s easier for people to get carried away and develop several health damaging habits. Calorific festive foods and late night revelry when combined with an already stressful & hectic lifestyle could have a disastrous effect on an individual’s health. It is great to celebrate and indulge a little, but you don’t have to stuff your face with celebratory foods. When it comes to resisting food temptations, a strong mind alone can help you stay fit during festivals. Here are a few essential tips to help you enjoy the festivities without having to derail your health

Skipping breakfast

Most people believe that they can lose weight by skipping the first meal in the morning. This is nothing but a misconception. Breakfast is an extremely important meal of the day because it gives the body plenty of energy to perform the day-to-day activities and also helps in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Moreover, food cravings increase when the stomach is empty hence if you skip breakfast, you may end up overeating at lunch. It is a false notion that skipping breakfast will compensate for the calories that you may consume later that day at a party or social gathering. Owing to a slow metabolism, most food items that are consumed during the later part of the day aren’t digested properly which directly contributes to extra body weight.

Missing out on daily exercise

No reason is good enough for missing out on your regular workout regimen. Regardless of a busy work schedule or a late night dinner party, make it a point to indulge in some or the other form of physical activity. Exercising increases the body’s metabolic rate, thereby burning more calories all through the day. The trick is to keep the body moving and avoid being in a static position for long. If you have not officially signed-up for a gym membership or do not have the time to get up early and exercise, try these high intensity, calorie-burning activities –

  • Do some household chores
  • Dance to your favorite music,
  • Play with your kids in the park
  • Walk your dog,
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Reduced water intake

With easy access to plenty of aerated drinks and alcoholic beverages during the festive season, people often tend to ignore the body’s need for H2O (water). If the body is sufficiently hydrated, you automatically feel full which makes you eat less food and consume less alcohol. What’s more… gulping down 2 or more glasses of water throughout the day is the best and most effective home remedy for a hangover

Excessive smoking & alcohol consumption

Festivals and celebrations should be to mingle and socialize with family & friends but often during this time people tend to over-indulge in unhealthy habits like alcohol consumption and smoking. Besides being loaded with empty calories, alcohol leads to excessive storage of fats in the body and also damages the kidneys in the process. Extreme exposure to nicotine through first-hand & secondhand smoke is extremely injurious to health. This festive season, spread joy, not diseases. Restrain yourself from making unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Over-indulgence of festive sweets

It’s not just lack of willpower, or determination, that makes us overeat and gain weight. Sometimes, it’s that sneaky bad habit you developed without even realizing it. One bad eating habit can trigger a lot of weight gain and increase your risk of developing various illnesses. Like any other habit, turning to sugar can be a tough one to kick, especially if you are constantly exposed to a variety of sugary foods that come in attractive packages.

Festivals and mouth-watering, sugary delights go hand-in-hand. With sweets turning up everywhere how does one turn away?

Find a healthy substitute to satisfy your sweet cravings and also don’t forget to keep a watch on your portion size.

Getting insufficient sleep

In an attempt to catch-up with work whilst making time to attend social gatherings, people often end up with very little nap time which can adversely affect their overall health & wellness. Sleep is a biological need of the body. In the absence of adequate sleep, your immune system takes a serious hit, making you more vulnerable to minor ailments like cold & flu.

Quit these health damaging habits and maximize the festivities this year!

Hurdles to Organ Donation in India

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Did you know…?

India organ donation rate is one of the lowest in the World.

The plight of those waiting for Organ transplants is not something that is widely reported, yet it is a daily struggle for hundreds of people in India and countless others across the globe.

Of late an Indian Defence Aircraft was used as an Air Ambulance to fly a heart from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi for saving an auto driver’s life. In spite of several public awareness initiatives that are carried out on Organ Donation, there is still a huge gap between patients who need organ transplants and potential donors. It’s not that there aren’t sufficient organs to transplant. Anyone who dies naturally or in an accident is a potential donor. In spite of the fact that India has among the world’s highest number of deaths from road accidents, there is an acute shortage of organs for transplantation

‘Very recently I had expressed my wish to donate my organs after death, to which the response from my elders shocked me to the core. They were absolutely adamant about this and wanted me to do nothing but change my mind, stating that without my organs my soul would be denied entry to heaven’.

This kind of mentality is one of the major hurdles to Organ Donation in India. If people continue to maintain this kind of attitude, the situation is likely to get worse in terms of finding suitable donors. While there is an ample amount of information on organ donation & transplants, there is still a great lack of education & many myths surrounding this subject. As opposed to common beliefs, all major religions in India support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love & generosity towards others. Also, organ donation doesn’t leave a person disfigured. Whether transplanted from a living or deceased donor, this medical procedure is conducted in a very professional manner by highly trained medical experts. During this procedure, the human body is treated with dignity, care & respect hence there is no question of disfigurement.

Finding a donor match is already a tough ordeal, to add to it, bureaucratic hurdles and lack of awareness makes the entire process of Organ transplant and donation even more difficult in our country. Those belonging to the lower middle class income group who wish to donate their organs either do not have sufficient information about Organ donation or are hesitant to take the next step due to lack of awareness. ‘Donor Card’ seems to be an alien term for many who live below the poverty line. Also, not all hospitals in every Indian state, city and village are sufficiently equipped to carry out the complex procedure of Organ Transplantation.

Even if the hospital boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure that is required to carry out complex transplant procedures, sometimes it becomes extremely difficult for doctors to convince the family members to donate the organs of their deceased relative. Even if the family is ready to donate organs, religious superstitions become impediments. Speaking on the same lines, Tina Ambani, the Chairperson of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital states that India lacks way behind with regards to organ donation, as compared to other countries. She also believes that a change of mindset & attitude towards Organ Donation is the need of the hour. To read full excerpts from her interview to TOI,visit: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Major-religions-view-organ-donation-as-charity/articleshow/48338140.cms :