The current outbreak of Corona Virus- so small yet so dangerous- has made even the most laid back of us much worried. And as it continues to take a toll on our health and rip through our society, many of us are left to wonder how to protect ourselves in this first of its kind crisis. In addition to washing hands, frequent disinfecting and avoiding contact with the sick, one of the best ways to effectively deal with the virus is to boost our immunity.
As American Oncologist and medical director of Tucker Medical, Dr. Steven Tucker puts it, ” In my experience, the single best way people can improve their immune system is through adequate sleep.”
When talking of immunity, sleep is a natural booster……the most plain sailing way to propel our immunity in this lockdown – SLEEPING OUR WAY OUT!!
SLEEPING IN – A SILVER LINING IN THE SHUTDOWN
Putting a disclaimer: Sleep is not a panacea for Corona but ample sleep can prepare our body and help it fight the disease.
It is the sleep during which our body heals itself. Fitness freaks believe that if one doesn’t get enough sleep then body gets degraded instead of building up, even after a great workout and a nutritious diet. Getting a sound sleep in this global pandemic could be more important than ever. A single night of no sleep can delay the immune responses and slow the body’s ability to recover making us more vulnerable to contracting the virus.
During sleep the immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines are important for fighting infections and inflammation and help us respond to stress. These proteins send chemical signals to the unaffected cells telling them to prepare themselves for an invasion and promote enzyme production necessary in combating the infection.
Sleep increases Immune System response time.
Sleep boosts T cell production.
An independent study showed that those subjects that slept less than 7 hours per night were almost thrice as likely to develop cold when exposed to common cold virus (Rhinovirus). Although a similar research involving corona virus is yet to be done, we can expect a similar pattern.
To state it in simple words, if you have a healthy immune system you are less likely to contract a disease. And if contracted, a strong immune system will reduce the severity of the illness.
What’s clouding our sleep? Catching the villain..
A recent report from Express Scripts shows a peak in anti anxiety and anti insomnia drug sale in mid March- the same week WHO declared COViD 19 a pandemic!!!!
Taking a look, the reasons seem apparent enough,
Heightened anxiety associated with concerns about our health and that of our loved ones.
Financial distress and joblessness for the working.
Home isolation has disturbed the sleep wake cycle of many as we no longer wake for the morning commune each morning.
Sustained stress and increased downtime at home with comfy blankets just steps away has made daytime snoozing more seductive. This takes away the sleep drive making it harder to sleep at night.
Spending more time on our screens than ever- looking at updates and connecting with family and friends.
Quality Sleep to Fight Back Cold
That was on how coronavirus is screwing up our sleep. Good news is 68% of us are still getting good amount of sleep. But that leaves 32% of us to work on and fix our sleep cycle. A good sleep is the one with adequate quantity and good quality. The perfect formula to achieve both is to get a continuous 6-8 hours of night sleep. Following these easy tips can help to have a good sleep.
Maintain a strict sleep routine. Try to get up the same time each day.
Ditch those smartphones and box screens! You don’t need to follow the news in bed. Use sleep to isolate yourself from the latest sadness of the pandemic.
Sunshine Dose. With home isolation its easy to get deprived of the daily sun light- this disturbs the circadian rhythm and sleep wake cycle. Make sure to get exposure to sunshine.
Enhance your sleep environment. Make it conductive to sleep by using dark lampshades and comfortable linens.
Limit caffeine after 2 pm.
Exercise & have a good diet.
If you are struggling to get your usual mount of sleep at night during Ramadan, try to make up for the lost hours during the day. [Additional reading – https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/doctor-note-sleep-ramadan-coronavirus-200425090109950.html ]
|The Corona outbreak has become a worldwide story. Its certainly concerning and definitely not a joke anymore. We, Ahmad and Ayesha, are thankful that we have so many dedicated people working towards a solution. Peace and Love.|
Ayesha Em Ayaz – Rama Medical College, Kanpur
Ahmad Umama Jafri- Government Medical College, Badaun