“Sleep is the best meditation”
- Dalai Lama
During the stressful times of the COVID pandemic it is very important to maintain good sleep schedule and healthy sleep hygiene. It is of paramount importance to protect yourself and your family from the infection by washing hands and maintaining at least six feet distance during the quarantine period until the disease is controlled. In addition to following these basic lifestyle modifications a growing body of evidence suggests that adequate sleep is necessary to build up your immunity and fight against infections like Corona virus.
Sleep is as important as a healthy diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep can negatively impact not only your feelings of anxiety and stress but also your immunity levels. In a recent study, Sleep medicine experts have recommended at least seven hours of ‘good’ sleep every night. Individuals who slept less than seven hours every night in this study were found to have three-fold greater risk of infections compared to individuals who averaged eight hours of sleep. Sleep not only protects you from infections but also helps you in recuperating from illness quickly. Additionally, poor sleep can also result in “flare ups” of previous chronic medical illness.
These are some of the tips recommended during stressful and uncertain times to maintain good sleep.
Maintain good sleep hygiene:
Unfortunately, due to COVID pandemic many of us are either forced to work from home or laid off. No matter how bad things are affected it is crucial to maintain good sleep hygiene. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time of the day. Avoid excessive daytime naps. Do not work on the bed. Use bed only for sleeping.
Avoid TV/media close to bedtime:
With continuous inflow of news, it is impossible to escape from the distressing updates about Corona virus can impact your stress levels and worsen anxiety there by preventing a good night sleep. Also, blue light from your TV screens will decrease melatonin secretions at night. Melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain that promotes sleep. Hence, try to avoid watching TV close to bedtime.
During pandemic when most of the gyms are closed make sure you continue exercising. While maintaining social distancing try to exercise for at least thirty minutes every day. Good exercise during daytime releases endorphins which helps in getting good sleep.
Avoid coffee/alcohol close to bedtime:
Stimulants like coffee taken close to bedtime will affect your sleep. Try to avoid coffee and alcohol which suppresses “REM-stage” or Dream stage of sleep. “REM sleep” is of utmost importance for your body to heal itself in sleep.
Obstructive Sleep apnea:
If you have been told that you snore at night and have symptoms of excessive day time sleepiness, fatigue and feeling of restlessness during the daytime it is likely you have Obstructive sleep apnea. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea has been linked not only to poor immunity but also heart diseases, early strokes and Diabetes mellitus. Talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment options. If you are already using CPAP make sure you clean it regularly to prevent contamination.
Lastly, remember that we are all in this together and we shall overcome this together. A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.