Young adults, or soon-to-be fossils?
As a child, I thought the average human lived for 80-90 years. But now, in my early twenties, I already physically feel like I'm 100 years old. All my friends have back pain, many of them can't bend their knees, and the light of life has left many of their eyes many moons ago. This brings me to wonder, will our generation live as long as the others? If not, where did we go wrong?
Hustle culture is a major issue. Young adults working part-time before was not as common as it is now. Nowadays, students from various economic backgrounds have multiple part-time jobs, and many work full-time outright. With insane living standards and competitiveness on the rise, students can easily find themselves over-working out of constant concern over not making full use of every waking second of a day. In fact, even individuals with full-time jobs often have other affiliations such as businesses, because there is no limit to success. One of the most common outcomes of this work ethic is a lack of sleep.
According to an article published by Cleveland Clinic, long-term lack of sleep can lead to health issues ranging from temporary difficulties such as a deteriorated memory, to serious problems including increased heart attack risk, raised blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, and stroke. Speaking from personal experience, I often find myself mumbling answers to conversations that never happened when severely sleep deprived. When work was hectic, I thought I could make up for no sleep at night by sleeping for an hour during the day. I later learned of a study conducted to assess whether altered sleep patterns are harmful.
The study stated how by solely a 24-hour change in sleep pattern from night to day, approximately 100 blood protein levels were altered due to biochemical changes. These are important proteins involved in sugar levels, immunity, and metabolism. Uncontrolled diets can make things even worse. I believe I cannot be the only student who had to miss breakfast once or have easily available fried food as a lunch substitute for work. If you already have acidity or ulcer issues, this might lead to an unbelievably painful experience.
Back problems are not often taken seriously, from my experience. Sometimes, on account of multiple jobs, individuals have to pack well for the day creating heavy baggage to carry. Many work positions require constant work on a laptop, and to meet deadlines, a lot of people work at a stretch sitting in a fixed position. The main problem occurs when one day, you cannot stand up or sit back down out of sudden acute pain in your lower back.
To make matters worse, the three conditions I mentioned in this article can even simultaneously exist in one individual. On the other hand, I remember seeing my grandfather always have early dinner and go to sleep by 9 PM, carefully regulating his health.
Yes. We live in a time where everyone is constantly trying to prove themselves. But even so, we must remember to look after our health. Thereby, upon reaching our goals, we may actually exist to reap the benefits.
Cleveland Clinic (March 25, 2022). Here's What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep (and How Much You Really Need a Night).
Everyday Health (May 23, 2018). Study Reveals Why All-Nighters May Be So Dangerous for Your Health.
Bushra Zaman likes books, art, and only being contacted by email. Contact her at [email protected]