Can Sleeping More Reduce Your Risk to COVID-19?
A couple of months in and we are still in the middle of this pandemic. I’m sure most of us are already antsy to go back to our normal activities. Currently there is no vaccine available yet for the COVID-19 virus. At this rate, our best course of action in reducing our risk to the virus is to avoid it as much as possible.
However, recent studies have shown that better sleep can help fight the virus and possibly boost the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
But how can sleeping do that?
Remember one of the health benefits you can get out of a good-quality sleep is that it boosts your immune system. Over the years numerous studies have been done to gather evidence that shows how sleep can bolster the immune system against the common cold, flu, and respiratory infections.
One such study was conducted by a team from the University of Tübingen in Germany that explains the relationship between sleep and the body’s defenses against infection. Scientists found that good-quality sleep improves T cells — immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens.
Basically what T cells act as soldiers in the immune system with the task of recognizing pathogens that enter the body and then activate integrins, a type of protein that allows T cells to attach to and tackle their targets. In this way, they contribute to the body’s immune response when a potentially harmful foreign body enters the system.
When the body is sleep deprived, the T cells also become less able to interact with virus-infected cells, reducing their power to fight the infection. You’ll notice people who do not have enough sleep were more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus.
We know there are other factors that affect our susceptibility to illness such as our stress levels, alcohol consumption, exercise smoking among others. Still experts advise on prioritizing sleep and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to get better quality sleep.
If you’re having problems getting a good night’s sleep we’ve got some tips for you on:
Now that you know how sleep plays a critical role in your health and well-being, I hope that you take better care of yourself, eating right, exercising and resting well in this pandemic while we wait out for the vaccines to arrive.
Empire & Co Team