Today we received an email from one of our Tignumized clients sharing a story about the death of a young CEO in India. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence so I wanted to share a condensed summary of the tragic death of Ranjan Das, the CEO of SAP India.
Ranjan was just 42 years old and he was an avid exerciser. On October 21st, he returned home from the gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died. He left behind his wife and two very young kids. It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India and executives all over the world. However, it was even more disastrous for avid exercisers and runners who make the mistake of thinking that just being an exercise zealot is enough to prevent a tragedy such as this.
The cause that was attributed to the death was the lethal combination of excessive stress (or as we would more accurately say - a lack of oscillation) and chronic sleep deprivation. Ranjan often reported that he regularly made due with only 4-5 hours of sleep. It's not that he prided himself on getting so little sleep (as too many hard charging executives do), it was more the result of his busy demanding life.
For those of you who have attended a Tignum program here is a quick summary of some sleep facts:
- Short sleep duration (<6 hours/night) increases the risk for high BP compared to those who sleep >6 hours/night (the amount varies among research studies from 27% up to 300%).
- People 25-49 (young people) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less.
- Men who sleep <5 hours/night are three times more likely to suffer a heart attack.
- Just one night of sleep loss increases toxic substances in the body such as Interleukin-6, Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha, and C-reactive protein. This may increase the risk of several medical conditions including cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and stroke. (For more info click here )
The important message here is that recovery is just as important to your performance, your health, and your safety as is your exercise and your nutrition. Excessive exercise is a stressor to your body and therefore increases your demand for sleep. This is why we believe so strongly that the only approach to sustainable high performance is the total integration of Mindset, Nutrition, Movement and Recovery habits.
In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world it's easy to fall into the mindset trap that you are indispensable and infallible. This is a grave mistake because as Charles de Gaulle once said, "The graveyards are full of indispensable men." Now is the time to evaluate, and if necessary, create some new sustainable high performance habits.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer