Around the world, people have taken precautions to stay healthy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, most significantly by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing. This global virus also presents a curiosity to find additional ways to boost your immune system so that in the event you contract Covid, your body is in a better shape to fight off the virus. Many people may focus on physical exercise and consuming nutritional foods, but another vital component to staying healthy is quality rest.
Sleep and Immune Health
While you’re asleep, your body’s immune system produces Cytokines, a type of protein. When you experience inflammation, are sick, or under stress, Cytokine production increases. This means that when you get limited shuteye, that could impair your body’s ability to heal itself. Furthermore, the presence of important infection-fighting antibodies and cells is reduced when you don’t get enough rest.
Research has shown a link between the pandemic and sleep problems, with many people experiencing Insomnia over the past year due to multiple reasons such as job loss, schedule changes, and the trauma of a global health crisis. Since good sleep plays a key role in maintaining a strong immune system, this means more people than usual may be vulnerable to illness, adding another complicated layer to the fight against Covid.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, healthy adults should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. It’s also worth noting that too little or too much slumber can present other health complications as well. Perpetual sleep deprivation is linked to cognitive issues, chronic diseases, and fatigue, while oversleeping is associated with health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, increased risk of death, and depression.
It’s not just the amount of time you’re asleep that’s essential, but also the quality of rest you get. You may be in bed for 8 hours, but if you’re frequently waking up during the night, you’re not getting optimal shuteye to improve your overall health and well-being.
Tips for Better Rest
To help get your best sleep – and boost your immune system – there are simple steps you can take each day.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
The pandemic may have thrown off your routine, but experts say it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day – weekends included – helps regulate your natural sleep-wake cycle and guarantee you get enough rest.
Don’t Go to Bed Hungry or Full
Hunger pains or an overstuffed belly could be distracting enough to keep you up all hours of the night. In the event you feel hungry later in the evening, avoid having a large meal and instead opt for a light snack. This will curb your hunger without leaving you too full.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine at night is a big no-no, but even consuming caffeinated beverages later in the afternoon could affect your ability to fall asleep. For those who rely on coffee, try to only consume it in the morning.
A glass of wine or a beer at the end of the day may make you feel sleepy, but alcohol has been found to cause disrupted sleep.
Establish a Restful Sleep Space
Your bedroom may also have an impact on how well you rest, so be sure to find ways to make your sleep space as restful and calming as possible. This could include new bedding, blackout curtains, soothing music, and more.
Exercise is great for your physical and mental health, but did you know it could also help you sleep better? Research has found that regular exercise helps people fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep.
Stress and anxiety can certainly derail you from dozing off, which is why it’s crucial to finds ways to manage your worries, so they don’t keep you up at night. Journaling, meditation, reading a book, or taking a warm bath are just some of the ways you can unwind at night.
Ditch the Tech Devices
As tempting as it may be to log on to your computer or scroll through social media before bedtime, these devices are known to suppress melatonin, a naturally-produced hormone that induces sleep. Instead, try to cut off your screen time about an hour before you go to bed.