In the past few weeks, the internet is flooded with almost every Indian receiving an email about the passing away of Ranjan Das, CEO of SAP India.

The topic is alarming because of many reasons, some of them being the fact that:

1. He was quite young. He was only 42 when he passed away.

2. He was physically fit. He used to work out regularly and was also participating regularly in long distance marathons.

There has been a lot of noise from this mail which insists on the fact that he used take care of his physical fitness, eating habits, etc, but missed on taking care of his sleep which resulted in the heart attack. While people say that stress and lack of sleep is a dangerous combination, I could correlate to how his excercising habits must have helped him handle the stress quite easily. But does that mean, people who know how to handle stress, still are under high risk due to lack of proper sleeping habits? May be, I have no clue.

In any case, that made me think hard about my life style, as I see myself leading a similar life style, just like the few hundred Indians of my age group, who want to make a difference during their life time.

When I was in my tenth standard, someone told me this: “Sleep only for four hours a day and see how your life changes for the better, with the extra time you have. You will thank me for this.” That some how stuck to my mind and I tuned myself to sleep only for four hours a day for the past 10 years or so. The good thing was that I really found these extra hours as very rewarding time in my life, as I could do things that others were ‘trying but not able to do consistently’, such as exercising every day, reading a few pages from a book every day, reading latest technology news on the internet, spending early mornings just looking outside the window doing nothing (is that called bird watching?).  Initially it was fun, but then later I started realizing that it was taking a toll on my life where I felt sleepy around 7 or 8pm every evening and crashed by the time it was 9pm.

Two years ago, I decided to switch to a different routine and also removed the concept of ‘waking up at 4am’ from my life style. I go to bed when I feel tired and wake up when I feel fresh. This also seemed like a good idea, but what I realized is that some days I went to bed at 11pm and woke up at 3am and felt fresh !!!! I have been doing this routine for about two years now – one good thing is that this helps me continue having the luxury of all other things (mentioned above) that people find it difficult to do regularly. One problem with this approach is that, I rarely sleep for more than six hours a day – with my sleep ranging from four to six hours a day.

After reading this story about Ranjan Das, I tried to take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test and realized I hit a perfect 3 in every point and was the highest risk level as per this test. Hence I have decided to tune my body clock once more, where I am planning to continue going to bed when I feel tired and wake up only when I feel fresh, making sure I also force myself to a minimum of six hours of mandatory sleep. (One good thing is I can sleep wherever and whenever I want 🙂 ).

As a human being who is married and has a family and also as a person leading a technology team, I believe it makes complete sense for me to respect the fact that we should take care of our health and minimize the risks to our health in every way, if not for ourselves but at least for the family and the extended family as they want us alive. Hence I have taken this decision and I intend to update this post with how I feel after this change in lifestyle.

Stay tuned and stay healthy!!!