Written by MySlumberYard.com
Sleep is so much more than just a nightly rest to recharge for the day. There are many health benefits to getting a good night of sleep — including helping to protect yourself from COVID-19. Proper sleep keeps your immune system strong, and a stronger immune system will help you fight off infections and viruses, like the novel coronavirus.
Winter can be especially hard on your immune system, as the cold weather can wear you down and make you more susceptible to getting sick. There’s a reason you tend to catch a cold or flu in the winter! It all comes back to your immune system. One of the best things you can do for yourself in winter (and all the time) is to get a good night of sleep every single night. We know, that’s not always easy to do, but it’s something to work toward. Ahead, we’ll provide you with more information on how sleep affects your health, specifically your immune system, and give you tips for boosting your immune system this winter so you can stay safe from COVID-19.
COVID-19 can wreak havoc on your immune system. When your body is infected with the novel coronavirus, your immune system naturally reacts to try to fight it off. Though research is still being done on the virus, it is still an incredibly difficult one for the immune system to fight, especially if your immune system is already compromised in some way. In winter, it’s believed that your immune system can also be slightly weaker, making it an even harder time of year to be faced with COVID-19, and incredibly important to do everything you can to boost your immune system and avoid the coronavirus.
Before you start considering the effects of COVID-19 during the winter, make sure you know the symptoms of the virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
One of the best ways to set up your immune system for success in the winter is by getting enough quality sleep. Studies have proven that a lack of sleep can lower your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses, thus making you more prone to catching something — like COVID-19. This winter, while you’re following CDC best practices for slowing the spread of COVID-19, like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and disinfecting things, add a good night’s sleep to your list of things to do every day.
When you don’t get enough sleep, put simply, your immune system gets weaker. While you’re sleeping, your body releases cytokines, proteins that your body needs to fight off infections. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your immune system isn’t getting the opportunity to replenish these cytokines so it’s prepared to fight off any illnesses. You also need more of these cytokines when you are sick, so if you’re sick and not sleeping, you’re in an even worse position to try to recover.
Your body also produces fewer infection-fighting antibodies if you aren’t getting enough sleep, which puts you at a disadvantage for getting better when a bug is going around. This means it’s incredibly important to get enough sleep each night so you can keep your immune system working properly.
If you’re not familiar with what’s actually happening when you sleep, we’ll clue you in on it. Your body goes through four sleep stages; three of these are Non-REM sleep, and the fourth is the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle. Your REM sleep cycle is typically when you experience dreams and your brain is more active. During your NREM cycles, on the other hand, you experience a much deeper sleep.
The body cycles through these stages throughout sleep, going through two phases of NREM, followed by another phase of NREM that’s your deep sleep, followed by a REM cycle. Each lasts for different amounts of time and each has a function for your body. It’s the third NREM cycle when you’re in a deep sleep that your body repairs the immune system, and rebuilds it so it’s ready to help you fight off infection. This is why sleep is crucial to keeping you healthy. If your body isn’t hitting that quality deep sleep, it’s not able to boost the immune system.
Signs of a weaker immune system include:
You can improve your immune system, though! Try any of the following:
Something as simple as purchasing a new mattress can do a lot for your immune system! Here’s why: a proper mattress that’s new, accommodating, and clean can help you sleep better, first of all. Better sleep means a better immune system. A new mattress will also help eliminate any allergens or germs that might have been in your old mattress, which can help you breathe better, and thus, sleep better. So consider a new mattress to help your immune system — there’s one for every budget.
Beyond that, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself feel better, and a great time to start these is in the new year. Try setting up some fun and practical habits in the new year that will set you up for healthy success and a COVID-19-free future. Here are some ideas:
If you’re concerned about your immune system or COVID-19 in general, it’s best to take the proper steps to protect yourself, and even speak to your healthcare provider. They can advise you on any infections you might be encountering and help you manage your health in the safest and best way for you. They can also give you further advice for boosting your immune system and staying healthy. Otherwise, it’s important to maintain healthy sleep habits paired with conscious eating and exercise to help boost your immune system and keep it fighting against illnesses such as COVID-19.