Why Sleep Is Important for COVID-19: Details on Sleep and Your Immune System
The importance of sleep during a global pandemic is critical to your chances of avoiding a severe infection from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. With tens of millions of Americans suddenly forced to suddenly hunker down in their homes with their families and many people out of work, scrambling for food and supplies, caring for loved ones, and with financial disasters looming over the horizon, we are all in panic mode.
Being stressed and anxious likely causes insomnia, and lack of sleep can be disastrous to your immune system and can diminish the likelihood of a good outcome should you become infected. The pandemic has raced across the globe at lightning speed, dominating the headlines and creating a fear driven headline that further adds to the panic and anxiety we are all experiencing.
Originating in a food market in China and now permeating virtually every population on earth, your likelihood of infection could actually remain low if you practice common sense and simply employ the basic tactics that health officials are begging us to follow. Washing your hands frequently for 20-30 seconds, maintaining social distance, staying indoors, and remaining calm to protect your body’s natural ability to fight off infections is mission critical to survival.
One of the best things we can all do to increase our body’s natural immune response is to get 7-8 hours of solid, restful sleep. REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep is something we all need to allow our bodies to repair, replenish, and rest. Our bodies are busy repairing cells, making new neurons, fabricating hormones, and resetting our brains for the next day while we sleep.
We advise following a fixed schedule, and treat your bedroom as if it were you own ICU, a sanctuary where you can repair and rejuvenate your body. Get to bed thirty minutes before you plan of falling asleep, turn off your TV, put your phone on night mode, which eliminates blue light in favor of warmer light that won’t trick your brain into shutting down the release of melatonin, essential for sleep induction. Blue light tells your brain that it’s time to get up, not wind down.
While you sleep, your body is busy updating you brain and working to bolster your immune system. It’s busy building new T-Cells, for example, one of the most important piece of ammunition we possess as mammals to fight off infection.
A T cell is a kind of lymphocyte, which is manufactured by the thymus thymus gland, playing a key role in our immune response arsenal. T cells can be distinguished from other lymphocytes because they have a T-cell receptor on their surface. These immune cells originate in the bone marrow, and develop into several kinds of T cells once they have found their way to the thymus gland.
Groups of specialized T cells have an important role in controlling and executing the immune response by providing a variety of immune-related functions. By fostering T-cell production, sleep helps in bolstering the immune system. The activation of T cells is critical in determining how the system handles invaders with the T cells attacking and destroying the virus-borne cells before they invade the body’s immune system.
Another benefit from a good night’s sleep is the efficiency with which we regulate body temperature. It is important to maintain an optimal temperature level that can prevent any external disease-producing substances from rapidly growing inside the body.
A good night’s sleep enables the body’s temperature regulating system to be more efficient, such as being able to raise our core temperature when our immune system detects an invading pathogen like the coronavirus. Fever is actually one of our most powerful defense mechanisms.
One purpose of a fever is thought to be to raise the body’s temperature enough to kill off certain bacteria and viruses which are actually extremely sensitive to temperature changes, we’re talking even a degree or two. A virologist in China suggested that body temperatures above 96.8F can actually kill off vast amounts of coronavirus. He noted that colder climates tend to allow the virus to infect more individuals and make recovery much slower.
Should you lower a fever, then? Advil, Aspirin, Alleve, and Tylenol, for example, will reduce fever, but if the fever is actually helping to eliminate an infection, then lowering it might not be a good idea. On the other hand, people sometimes die from fever, as the body’s natural pyrogenic response can begin to kill enzymes and other important elements of the immune system in our bodies. Many people try to control their fever to some degree, while allowing it to still “cook off” the virus at temperatures that are tolerable, around 101-102F maximum.
Small children and infants tolerate much higher fevers than older adults, so it’s best to talk to your health provider before you consider option out of the fever reducing alternatives. The general medical consensus falls on the “reduce the fever” side of the fence.
Just how fast your immune system jumps into action is enhanced by getting a good night’s sleep. Well rested individuals are able to support the release and production of cytokine, a protein that helps the immune system to respond quickly to invaders.
Cytokines help by establishing cell-to-cell communication, navigating T- cells towards infections and implementing countermeasures. The human body requires a full night’s sleep, that’s 7-8 hours, to replenish the proteins it needs to combat diseases like the coronavirus.Poor sleep hinders cytokine production, making it more difficult for the body to battle against viruses like the COVID-19.
The immune system gets busy as soon as it detects any toxins, antigens or any other foreign substances in the body. Such a response leads the immune system to develop antibodies and cells that help in fighting the invader. The immune system will actually memorize this process and use it again if the same invaders attack again in the future.
Copper infused bedding products might help
Maintaining a clean and hygienic sleep environment is critical during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are looking for a mattress right now, you may want to consider a copper infused mattress. Copper is a natural anti-viral, and many manufacturers are using copper thread in the outer fabric on mattresses to maintain a sanitary surface. Manufacturers may also use a copper infused foam layer inside the bed to keep pathogens out of the interior where moisture tends to accumulate. You can visit our copper infused mattress page here, and check out two brands that we recommend, both with special pricing.
A decent mattress protector is a good idea on any mattress since it is washable, and it will keep particulate matter, fluids, and dust mites off of your mattress. If you become ill from the coronavirus, you will bet spending long hours recovering in bed, and maintaining a healthy environment free of the pathogen is critical. Once you have recovered, simply wash the mattress protector with the rest of your bedding.
It’s absolutely a fact that sleep is a natural immune booster. Getting a good night’s sleep, meaning 7-8 solid hours if possible can help to improve our immune system so that we have a strong arsenal if you become infected. Remember, though, getting sleep isn’t a guarantee that you won’t succumb for coronavirus. Until a vaccine is developed, we still need to rely on staying healthy, eating a wholesome diet, and above all, keeping calm.