Monday, April 02, 2012

What killed Ranjan Das (CEO and MD of SAP) and Lessons for Corporate India? Infused Living: Home Accents, Jewelry, and accessories from around the world!

Ranjan Das, CEO and MD of SAP Indian subcontinent died after a massive cardiac arrest in Mumbai on Wednesday. One of the youngest CEOs, he was just 42 year old!!

What killed Ranjan Das and Lessons for Corporate India
A few months ago, many of us heard about the sad demise of Ranjan Das from Bandra, Mumbai. He was very active in sports, was a fitness freak and a marathon runner. It was common to see him run on Bandra's Carter Road. Just after Diwali, on 21st Oct, he returned home from his gym after a workout, collapsed with a massive heart attack and died.

It was certainly a wake-up call for corporate India . However, it was even more disastrous for runners among us. Since Ranjan was an avid marathoner (in Feb 09, he ran Chennai Marathon at the same time some of us were running Pondicherry Marathon 180 km away), the question came as to why an exceptionally active, athletic person succumb to heart attack at 42 years of age. 

Was it the stress?
While Ranjan had mentioned that he faced a lot of stress, that is a common element in most of our lives. We used to think that by being fit, one can conquer the bad effects of stress. 

The Real Reason However, everyone missed out a small line in the reports that Ranjan used to make do with 4-5 hours of sleep. This is an earlier interview of Ranjan on NDTV in the program. Well-known cardiologist on the subject of 'Heart Disease caused by Lack of Sleep' have distilled the key points below in the hope it will save some of our lives.

Some Excerpts:
  1. Short sleep duration ( <5 or 5-6 hours ) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night.
  2. Young people ( 25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less. 
  3. Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks. 
  4. Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!
  5. Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL! -6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease.
  6. Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease.

Ideal Sleep
In brief, sleep is composed of two stages: REM ( Rapid Eye Movement ) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type. 

For us to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are
mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess ( lack of non-REM sleep ), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down.

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.

In conclusion:
Barring stress control, Ranjan Das did everything right: eating proper food, exercising ( marathoning! ), maintaining proper weight. But he missed getting proper and adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. In our opinion, that killed him.

If you are not getting enough sleep ( 7 hours ), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress.


Srinivasa said...

Nice Article, Condolence to the Smart Ranjan Das.
BTW Naren, do you think Yoga is a nice replacement to a 7 hour sleep. I mean 6 hours sleep + 1 hour Yoga? Just wondering!

Sundaresan & Chandra said...

a good analysis and every body to be enlightened about importance of good sleep 7 hours and more to maintain good health.

Narendra Kumar S.S said...


I agree with you regarding Yoga.
When you say Yoga, you mean Pranayama or Yoga Nidra, right?

Anonymous said...

Good article Narendra. However, sometimes its difficult to read as the ads are overlapping the article. May be a different design for the blog would help. Thank you.

Narendra Kumar S.S said...


Thanks for pointing out.
I think, it is the sidebar that is coming in the way!
I will have to work on this layout to make it more readable.

I will try to correct this.
Thanks for your valuable feedback.


Narendra Kumar S.S said...

I have modified the widths and removed some sidebar contents.
Also, I have removed the ads.
Can you please check it now and let me know if this looks good.

Also, if possible, suggest a better layout or template.

ರವೀಂದ್ರ ಪ್ರಭು said...

Now it looks clean and neat. Homepage and other articles look nice except this particular article. May be the font and layout issues again with this particular. Rest are completely readable. Thank you.

Brajadulal Patnaik said...

I knew that sleep is required for a runner. But that lack of sleep can result in fatal heart attack is really an eye opener. Thanks for this post.