There have been more than 140,000 deaths worldwide due to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over 20 percent of this number comes from the United States alone, with more than 32,000 fatalities as of April 16th. As of right now, the federal government has asked many states to remain locked down until April 30th. However, no one seems sure when the country will essentially re-open again.
It’s important to note that while the death rate has been more substantial than the average flu, the vast majority of people who get COVID-19 do recover. In fact, there have been over 2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus globally at this point.
Similar to the traditional flu, you can prevent COVID-19 through social distancing, handwashing, and boosting the immune system. Experts agree that the best way to boost your immune system is to get enough sleep every single night. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of sleep for your immune system and tips to getting a good night’s sleep, including products like a water heated mattress pad.
The Importance of Sleep and the Immune System
Experts have demonstrated the importance of sleep for physical and mental health, including the beneficial impact it has on the immune system. A recent study demonstrated how sleep contributes to the proper function of this system.
As you may know, sleep deprivation can have tons of negative effects on the brain and overall health of any living thing. It also increases pain sensitivity and can increase the likelihood of developing various illnesses and diseases.
A study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany has linked sleep to the functioning of the immune system. The researchers found that quality sleep can boost the effectiveness of immune cells, also known as T cells. This means that sleep can improve the body’s defenses against infection.
T cells recognize illnesses or pathogens, which then activate integrins. Integrins are a type of protein that allows T cells to attach and respond to potentially harmful foreign bodies, like COVID-19.
When we sleep, adrenaline and prostaglandin levels drop. T cell levels rise as we sleep, in turn, meaning that so do the levels of integrin. Therefore, when we sleep, we are actually helping our body fight off infection. Sleep has a positive impact when it comes to the functioning of T cells as part of our natural immune response.
That being said, lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system. Those who do not get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, including the common cold, flu, and coronavirus. Lack of sleep can also impact your ability to recover if you do get sick.
When you sleep, not only do your T cell levels rise, your body releases cytokines, which are a type of protein. Some types of cytokines need to increase in order to help your body fight off infection and inflammation. Sleep deprivation can cause a decrease in these proteins, which reduces your chances of effectively fighting off infection.
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need?
To support immune function, the average adult needs roughly seven to eight hours of quality sleep. Teenagers typically need nine to ten hours, and younger children may need more than ten.
While it may seem like a good idea to increase the hours in which you sleep, more sleep isn’t always better for you—sleeping more than the necessary amount of hours may result in poor quality sleep the following night. The body needs regular quality sleep each night to battle off infection and keep your immune system functioning properly.
That being said, when you are sick, you should get as much sleep as you feel your body needs. When you have the common cold or the flu, you may feel tired constantly. This is your body telling you to rest, so it may be best for you to sleep more than your normal amount of hours.
Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Remember, the key to boosting your immune system at night is getting quality sleep. Here are some tips to help you get the best sleep.
Stick to a Schedule
You should have a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time every single day, including weekends. This will regulate your body’s internal clock and can help you fall asleep and stay asleep every single night.
A consistent schedule is key to helping your body prevent infection. While it can be tempting to allow yourself to sleep in on the weekends for even just that extra hour, try to remember that sleeping too much can have an impact on your overall quality of sleep.
Make a Ritual
A nighttime routine can help you get to sleep much more easily. Even the simple routine of brushing your teeth and washing your face before bed can tell your body that it’s time to settle down for the day.
Lights may separate your sleep time from your awake time. Your body recognizes light as daytime, even when it is dark outside. This means that using your phone, computer, tablet, and even watching television can hinder your ability to fall asleep at night. Your pre-bedtime routine should include activities that are relaxing without using too many of these items.
If you find that you have trouble falling asleep at night, it might be a good idea to avoid naps in the afternoon. Napping may help you get through the entire day, but when it comes time for bed, your body may still be feeling refreshed from that hour of sleep. This may lead to difficulty falling asleep at night.
Consider Your Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment plays a huge role in your quality of sleep. Some people can’t fall asleep if it’s too warm, and others can’t fall asleep if it’s too cold. If you find that your bedroom is too warm at night, consider lowering the heat in your house just for the eight hours you spend in your bed.
However, if it’s cold where you are, the chill can keep you up at night. A bed warmer can help you stay warm at night while you keep the thermostat down. You can also choose to use a mattress warmer that circulates warm water to keep you comfortably toasty during sleep.
Make sure your mattress and pillows are right for you. Your mattress should be both comfortable and supportive. Mattresses have a life expectancy of about ten years, so it may be time to go shopping if yours is getting old.
You can also invest in a mattress pad to help keep your bed comfortable if you don’t want to purchase an entire mattress. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, your bed warmer pad can double as your mattress pad and your method for staying warm on cold nights.
Stay Rested and Healthy
While many parts of the US have begun seeing a reduction in the cases of coronavirus, we’re all still following strict guidelines for keeping ourselves and our families safe.
Washing our hands is a great way to stay safe during the day. However, when you’re in your home at night, getting quality sleep is the best way to fortify our bodies in the fight against infection.