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Lack of proper sleep leaves us feeling stressed, tired, and can open our bodies to infections as well. While there is nothing or life hack that can make you impervious to disease, sleep helps our bodies to stay healthy. Covid-19 has brought the world into a standstill and anything to help stop the spread is being treated with high regard. In addition to washing hands with water and soap, maintaining social distancing, and wearing protective masks, one best way to protect ourselves is by boosting our immune system. Sleep is a natural immune booster and getting enough of it is one way of protecting yourself. Below are reasons why sleep is important to beat COVID.

Boosts Immune System

When you’re eating a balanced diet, sleeping properly, and your body is in an overall healthy state, the immune system can fight off any illness. Since the immune system is connected to your central nervous system, any changes in the body included lack of sleep can impact the immune function negatively. Poor sleep leads to degenerative effects throughout the entire body, making the immune system not to work as required.

While sleeping, your body reevaluates how best to attack any invaders. Sleep deprivation gives the body a hard time when developing antibodies and guarding your body against pathogens.

Sleep Gives Skin Defenses A Boost

Our body tissues operate according to biological rhythms. The body clock instructs on when to sleep, eat, think, and perform other tasks. This body clock has a greater influence on the immune response, starting with the skin. The skin is very permeable at night and scratching yourself (which breaks down the skin barrier), makes it easy for pathogens to enter the body. Fortunately, blood flow to the skin increases at night empowering the immune cells to fight against invaders immediately they attack. Also, our bodies tend to shed skin cells during the early part of the night, meaning any virus that we may have collected during the day including Coronavirus is removed.

Increases T Cell Production

T cells are also referred to as white blood cells. They play an important role in immune function by attacking and destroying harmful cells. Research indicates that sleep improves your T cell’s ability to defend the body against pathogens. A study done on a group of people who slept a full seven to eight hours found that they had greater T cell activation, while those who had just two hours of sleep had a significant reduction in T Cell function. What’s more, sleep loss lowers T Cell response time, making it possible for infections to get past defensive barriers.

Reduces Stress

When our bodies are under stress, the immune system’s capabilities are limited, hence becomes susceptible to illnesses. Since we’re all anxious about this pandemic, it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. Great sleep relaxes the system in our body responsible for chemical stress response. Sleep also contributes to better physical health and effective functioning of your immune system. In case you suffer from insomnia, lavender oil can really help with that. Lavender is known to relieve anxiety and has a sedative property that increases relaxation and calmness, offering better resting effect.

Increases Immune System Response Time

It’s important for the body to respond to illnesses very fast. But without having enough sleep, this can be very hard. Our bodies go through four stages while asleep: Stage one through REM, with each stage performing specific functions for proper health. One vital function includes the production of the protein cytokine, that helps the immune system to respond to harmful pathogens very fast. An important role of the cytokine is enabling the cell to cell communication hence directing antibodies towards infections. For maximum production of cytokine, our bodies must go through all the four stages of sleep at least five times each night to help protect yourself against the COVID.

Conclusion

It’s a clear indication that the immune system is the major player in this fight against Coronavirus. The immune system identifies harmful viruses, parasites, bacteria, and fungi. For the immune system to be able to identify such pathogens, you need to always have a good night’s sleep. A good night time routine includes avoiding electronic light (blue light) at least two hours before bedtime. Electronic screens can interfere with melatonin production making it hard for one to fall asleep. Also, invest in a comfortable mattress. It’s hard to find adequate sleep on a broken bed or sagging mattress. Additionally, have a bedtime alarm to ensure you’re consistent with your sleeping time.

All images by Shutterstock

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