Dr Mehmet Oz and Arianna Huffington think people in the UAE need to relax and get more sleep. Dr Oz, who hosts a daily afternoon television program in the United States, appeared alongside the former editor-in-chief of Huffington Post at the World Government Summit in Dubai. The wellness advocates believe UAE residents are prematurely aging due to sleep deprivation and high levels of stress.
“We have a survey called the ‘real age study’; maybe 35 million people have taken part in it,” said Dr Oz. “In that survey, we look at how old your body thinks you are. When you have major stress in your life, it takes six years off your life expectancy.”
High blood pressure — the number one cause of aging, and one you can change — is an issue in the UAE that will take another 12 years off, he said.
Huffington, who used to sleep just four hours a night, collapsed from exhaustion in 2007. “If you’d asked me that morning, ‘Arianna, how are you?’ I would have said fine.”
Insufficient sleep is a concern for the UAE in particular, explained Dr Oz.
His app, Sleep Score, monitors people’s sleeping habits around the world – including the UAE. His findings are worrying.
“In the UAE… your sleep quality predicts that you’re sleeping five hours, 38 minutes only – 20 minutes less than in the West,” he said. “To give you an idea of the impact, sleeping pills get you about nine minutes more sleep, so you’d have to take twice as many sleeping pills.”
It’s not all bad news, however.
Huffington praised the UAE shared tips for healthier living. The best way to make change, she explained, was through “microsteps,” or small daily tasks to help decrease stress levels.
One of her favorites?
“Pick a time at the end of your day that you declare to be the end of your working day,” she explained. “You could keep working all night, answering emails and texts, so you have to declare an artificial end, to fully recharge, and sleep well.”
Another such moment happens at the beginning of the day.
“Take one minute — just one minute — before you go to your phone, to remember what you’re grateful for, and to set your intention for the day,” she said. “Start your day, recognizing what you want.”
Dr Oz named both exercise and retreating from the digital world as valuable tools for coping with stress.
“One nice thing about exercise is you can’t answer the phone when you’re doing it,” he said. “And at least for those few minutes, you own your day.”
How to live longer, according to Dr Oz and Arianna Huffington:
- Keep your phone in another room when you’re sleeping
- Take a minute each morning, before you check your phone, to plan what you want from the day
- Sleep seven to nine hours each night
- Get in some exercise daily – doing so will add 10 years on to your life expectancy
- Healthy foods can add 13 years onto your life
- Spend time with a healthy tribe — you’re more likely to have success when you have someone else on the journey with you
Featured photo from left: Becky Anderson, CNN anchor, Dr Mehmet Oz, Arianna Huffington and Professor David Clark, chair of experimental psychology at Oxford University. Photo: World Government Summit
An Aussie journalist with a passion for snowboarding, CrossFit and the outdoors, Caitlyn is an freelance writer based in Dubai. She's previously worked at Time Out, 7DAYS UAE, Arabian Radio Network and Lovin' Dubai and has a serious coffee addiction.