Fitbit has released a new report which says that India is the second-most sleep-deprived country after Japan among a group of 18 countries that includes the US and Singapore, among others. Indians also ranked lowest alongside Japan when it came to the amount of nightly rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or deep sleep, clocking in at 77 minutes on average. Fitbit is a fitness solutions company whose wearable digital smart bands of the same name have become a rage among the fitness-savvy over the last few years, so much so that Alphabet wants to acquire it. Fitbit compiled the report by aggregating insights from anonymized user data.

Whatever the fitness of the data, it does ring true. Non-communicable disease rates, for example, are soaring, and a correlation between lack of quality sleep and a predisposition to NCDs has long been established. Other surveys have found that Indians work longer hours than their peers elsewhere. This, too, would suggest sleep deprivation. Anecdotally, enough bleary-eyed people are seen around the big cities to suggest a sleep crisis of sorts.

The Fitbit report also notes that Indians are the most inactive, with an average of just 32 “active minutes". India’s propensity towards sedentary lifestyles, a lack of general awareness about the importance of health and fitness, combined with the stress associated with making ends meet, seem to have contributed to us being an unhealthy lot. While many Indians get into bursts of activity in a fitness craze, few seem to pay attention to the simple act of dozing. Sleep is crucial to survival. It also helps retain memories. It’s what grannies have always wanted us to get more of. But who remembers?

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