Chennai: A sleep insight data shared by Fitbit has shown that India is the second most sleep-deprived as well as the least active country amongst the 18 countries surveyed.
According to the report, Indians get an average of seven hours and one minute of sleep per day, the second-lowest after Japan. The figures are 48 minutes lesser than the average sleep for users in the UK and 32 minutes lesser than the average night sleep time of Americans.
Speaking about these findings, Dr V. Mohan, chairman and chief diabetologist, Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre, says that though he agrees with the findings, it should be noted that the study was conducted amongst Fitbit users, a group generally touted to be fitness motivated. The national aggregate could be much lower, he adds.
"A sedentary person clocks in about 2,000 steps a day. According to science it is widely accepted that walking 10,000 steps a day ideally keeps one healthy, prevents diabetes and aids in weight loss. While 45 minutes of walking amounts to 5,000 steps, it is essential that a person remains active throughout the day to reach the 10,000 mark," says Dr Mohan.
Dr Mohan feels that though Indian Fitbit users have been found the least active walking an average of 6,533 steps per day, it is a decent number, considering the national average which could be at just 3,000- 4,000. Interestingly, a study conducted by Dr Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre found out that pregnant women walk just walk about 2,000 steps during pregnancy. People are also more active in rural areas as compared to urban regions.
"The low physical activity could be attributed to our culture. As a nation, we are more carbohydrate oriented and also have a very low inclination towards fitness, excluding the 10-15 per cent of health-conscious individuals," he reasons.
The survey also suggests that India is the second-lowest in the sleep index, just below Japan. The reason for this could be an increase in screen time as well as the varying work shifts of the office goers, says Dr Mohan." Majority of the young population working in IT firms and BPOs work according to the timings of other countries. This affects their sleep pattern," he says adding that the 'light-dark cycle' and the time by which a person goes to sleep is equally important as the number of sleeping hours.
Not so surprisingly, low physical activity and less sleep can cause severe health implications. Elaborating on this, Dr Pradeep G Nayar, senior consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Malar hospitals, says " Physical activity keeps the blood vessels, particularly the endothelium(the innermost layer of blood vessels) healthy. An unhealthy lifestyle will damage this layer, resulting in several diseases including diabetes and heart attack. "
"Getting adequate sleep in the right hours is also of prime importance. During sleep, especially REM sleep, hormones are produced to rejuvenate the body. If this is compromised it will lead to the production of stress hormones, which will once again damage the endothelium," says Dr Pradeep....