Sleeping enough is one of those things we all know we should do, but we just never have the time to do it. Can you count how many times you stayed up all night even though you had to go to work or school early in the morning? It is countless, right? Every sleepless night does significant damage to our immune system, and now more than ever, you need to have strong immunity. The outbreak of the new Coronavirus showed how vulnerable we all are, especially people who have a weak immune system.
Older adults are especially vulnerable because they also have other chronic diseases, which is why there are more complicated cases and fatal outcomes among seniors. Young adults with a good immune response in the majority of cases develop mild symptoms, and some are not even aware that they have the virus. That is why they are dangerous because they can spread the virus while thinking they are completely healthy. Since there are no COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, we have to do everything that’s in our power to boost our immunity and prevent Coronavirus.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Before we introduce you to some general recommendations, we have to point out that sleep is not a cure for COVID-19. Sleep does not do wonders overnight. You need to develop a healthy sleep routine because that is essential for boosting your immune system. On average, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of proper sleep every night. Sleeping less during workdays and then oversleeping during the weekends does not pay off your sleep debt; it is not how it works. Only a proper sleep routine, which includes going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day, will give the best results.
How Sleep Boosts Immunity
There is a tight bond between sleep and immune function. When it comes to things that are beneficial for our immunity, the majority of people think about vitamins first, but proper rest is equally, if not even more important. One of the primary functions of our immune system is to spot and remove viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other germs that can cause diseases. Once it detects a foreign substance such as toxins or antigens, it activates and starts developing antibodies, which are new cells made to fight against that one particular invader.
While we are sleeping, our body is working hard on multiple revitalizing processes, including the production of T-cells. T-cells are a type of white blood cell that have an important role in our immune response to viruses. Also, the production of cytokines depends on our sleep as well. Cytokines are proteins responsible for our response to antigens and directing the behavior of cells. Lack of sleep will reduce the production of these and many other beneficial elements, which leads to poor immune response, and right now, lowers our chances to avoid severe symptoms of COVID-19.
Sleeping in the Age of Coronavirus
The World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and currently, many countries such as Italy, Spain, Iran, and the US are struggling to deal with it. People are anxious, worried, panicking; there is a global shortage of face masks, alcohol, and disinfects, so sleeping tight these days is not so easy, we know. But if you are spending a lot of time at home, instead of worrying about Coronavirus 24/7, try to do something for yourself. Now is the chance to get your sleep routine back in order, start eating healthier, and even exercising, because all that helps our immune system.
Tips for Better Sleep
If you have not nurtured a healthy sleep routine so far, it is going to be a bit hard in the beginning since it requires some adjustments, but if you follow these tips, soon you will be sleeping like a baby.
- Start your bedtime routine by practicing some relaxing activities such as taking a warm bath, yoga, or reading books.
- Do not watch TV, do not work from bed or scroll through social networks at least one hour before your desired bedtime. The blue light from your TV or smartphone will keep your brain awake, and you will have trouble falling asleep.
- Use blackout curtains and try to cover all sources of light in your bedroom. Additionally, you can use a sleep mask to induce sleep.
- Try a white noise machine. It will help you relax and get rid of all the negative thoughts about Coronavirus.
- Make sure you are using the right pillow for your sleep position and body type. Uncomfortable pillows and mattresses are common sleep disruptors.
Time to Pay Off Your Sleep Debt
Since the situation with COVID-19 is going to last for weeks, and the best we can do is to stay at home, now is the perfect time to put your sleep back in order. It will help you with your immunity, and once you develop this healthy habit, you can continue practicing it even after this crisis is over. Now more than ever, it is essential to work on our immunity because it will help us combat COVID-19 and other viruses as well.
Selena Thomas is a content writer who loves sharing tips on healthy lifestyles. A writer by day and a reader by night, she’s fond of writing articles that can help people in improving both physical and mental health. Also, she loves traveling and inspires people on her blogs.