Mind over body?

In the news today:
Actress Fann Wong down with H1N1

A week ago:
Newly-married Fann Wong still busy with work

I think she must be tired, stressed, and not getting enough rest so her immune system was not strong enough to fight the virus off. If a person is healthy, it's not that easy to contract H1N1. I know it because my colleague who right sits beside me - and our desks are not even separated by a partition - contracted H1N1. I don't know why she wasn't quarantined. She was only given a few days of medical leave, then she came back to work. Nobody else in the office contracted it. My colleague has recovered.

I'm sure you have read about (supposedly) physically fit people who die during or after marathons and triathlons. Here are 2 recent cases:
Deutsche Telekom Asia CEO Calvin Lee Wee Sing, 42, dies during OSIM triathlon - Aug 2009
SAP India CEO Ranjan Das, 42, Dies After Gym Workout - Oct 2009

The writer of the article What killed SAP CEO Ranjan Das and lessons for corporate India? speculated it was consistent lack of sleep that killed him. He slept only 4-5 hours per day.

From my own experience, the more stress and pressure I'm face with at work, the more sleep I need. Exercise might help me to de-stress but I'll still need to sleep so that my mind and body get to rest. Health professional recommend that we sleep 7-8 hours a day but this is only a guideline. How much sleep a person needs varies. Some people naturally do not require alot of sleep. They are able to function mentally and physically with only 6 hours of sleep while there are others (like me) who need more sleep than the average person. So how do we know what's enough? Easy. Just listen to your body. If you're sleepy, go and sleep! Don't stay up to work, surf the Internet or watch TV. (Try the Epworth Sleepiness Test below to determine whether you are getting enough sleep.)

Other than getting enough sleep, when it comes to eating, one should also listen to the body. Basically, if you are hungry, eat. We know that our bodies tell us how much we should eat: when we have not eaten enough we are hungry, if we have eaten too much we feel full. But did you know that the body also has an amazing ability to signal to you which nutrients to eat? Most of us are unaware of this ability because we are seldom close to the point of starvation or severe malnutrition. For me, I always know what I want to eat - perhaps not the exact dish but I would know what type of meat I want and whether I need alot of carbs and even fats. I seldom deprive myself of the food that I'm craving for. You may ask me, "So why do I keep craving for cakes and I end up getting fat?" That's because you forgot to look at yourself in the mirror: your body is trying to tell you something - to exercise!
(Note: This does not apply to people with eating disorders and body image disorder)

I don't totally believe in mind over body. I prefer to get them to work together. However, I know that I must consciously be able to differentiate tiredness from laziness and hunger/cravings from greed.

Related posts:
[Sleep disorders]
[Marathon: the latest fad]
[5 things I do to de-stress]

Epworth sleepiness test

Interpretation of score:
0-9 is normal,
10 and above is abnormal.

My score: 2 - for being in a passenger in a motor vehicle for >1hr, and lying down in the afternoon.
If you can doze off while sitting and talking to someone, you have a serious problem!


Rock Hard said...

I force myself to sleep in front of a very very boring person at times.

Yu-Kym said...

Mind over body indeed :P

yg said...

hi yu kym, i was told there is a cat museum in kuching. my first visit to kuching was made this year, during our national day holidays. i blogged about it here .

Yu-Kym said...

hi yg, yes there's a cat museum. my sister visited the cat museum on her trip there. I didn't visit it cos I knew there weren't going to be any live cats there :P