What the heart needs: More than seven hours of shut-eye

Mumbai: Sleep deprivation lies at the heart of the matter -- 71 per cent of Mumbaikars get less than 7.5 hours of sleep, causing them to suffer from cardiac ailments, according to a study conducted by the private company Saffolalife. Cardiologists say most people do not take sleep deprivation seriously and this is a cause for concern, as it increases the risk for heart diseases.

The study covered 1,226 people in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. While stress emerged as the topmost risk factor for heart disease in Mumbai, lack of exercise and belly fat were the biggest risk factors in Delhi and Hyderabad respectively.

The cardiac risk score of every participant in the study was calculated. “Lipid profiles were studied and other aspects, like belly fat and stress, were examined. There is a correlation between each of these components,” said endocrinologist Dr Shashank Joshi.

Lack of sleep, irregular meals, excessive belly fat and an overall sedentary lifestyle have exposed people to cardiovascular diseases to a large extent. “Every individual should have eight hours of sound sleep. We consider less than five hours of sleep a trigger for metabolic disorders and less than 7.5 hours of sleep a trigger for cardiac ailments,” Dr Joshi said.

Dr Anil Sharma, cardiologist, Bombay Hospital, said there are many reasons causing Mumbaikars to suffer from heart ailments and people need to take extra care of their heart. “In normal conditions, a person's heart rate is 70-80, but when the body is relaxed, the heart rate comes down to 40-50, reducing the risk of heart disease,” said Dr Sharma.

Dr Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist and director, Fortis School Mental Health Programme, said maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to both physical and mental health. This includes focusing on getting regular, good sleep for at least 7-8 hours daily. “It is important to follow a sleep hygiene routine, which includes disconnecting from all gadgets at least an hour prior to sleep, reading or listening to light music before going to sleep, not having caffeine close to bedtime, maintaining a roughly similar time to sleep and awake. Incorporating these practices helps regulate sleep and also combat stress,” said Dr Parikh.

What the study found

Mumbai has the highest incidence of heart risk, followed by Delhi and Hyderabad.

People with stress have the highest vulnerability to heart disease

71 per cent of Mumbaikars who sleep for less than 7.5 hours a day, are at risk of developing cardiac problems

62 per cent of people between 30-40 years of age and 79 per cent of adults 41-55 years of age are at risk

Highest risk factors


Stress: 76 per cent

Lack of exercise: 71 per cent

Lack of sleep: 71 per cent

Belly fat: 71 per cent

Skipping meals: 69 per cent


Lack of exercise: 64 per cent

Belly fat: 64 per cent

Skipping meals: 63 per cent

Stress: 62 per cent

Lack of sleep: 61 per cent


Belly fat: 57 per cent

Stress: 56 per cent

Lack of exercise: 56 per cent

Lack of sleep: 55 per cent

Skipping meals: 53 per cent

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