How Sleep Can Help Our Bodies Fight COVID-19
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Health officials all over the United States are working tirelessly to gain a better understanding of the coronavirus. Still, many Americans aren't sure how to keep themselves and their families protected. Most of us know to wash our hands with hot water as often as possible, wear a mask in public, and stay at least 6 feet apart from people we aren't quarantining with. However, it's also best to get a good night's rest to enhance the function of the immune system since this can help protect the body against COVID-19 as well. 

Experts believe that even though there is still much more to learn about coronavirus, studies have proven that your body is more likely to fight the virus off successfully if you're in good health. If you do contract COVID-19, you likely won't suffer many of the severe symptoms if you have a strong immune system. To make sure your immune system is functioning as it should, it's best to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

How Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Affected the World? 

As of March 10th, 2020, there were over 113,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 4,012 people around the world died from the virus. At the time, China was the country with the most deaths. The number of cases in the U.S. is steadily increasing, which means we have to do all we can to build up our resistance to the virus. Sleep will not cure COVID-19, but getting proper rest does provide the immune system a much-needed boost to keep the infection at bay. 

As we consider the best methods to shield ourselves from the coronavirus, it's important to remember that sleep is one of the essential building blocks of overall health. It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of why sleep is so vital for the body.

How Does Our Immune System Work? 

You've likely noticed that you sleep more when you don't feel well. This is because sleep has a profound impact on your immune system and your body's ability to combat an infection. When you rest, you're assisting your body in restoring your health. Your immune system battles against harmful germs and guards against physical changes like cancer, which is a cell mutation. 

When you are exposed to parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses, the immune system pinpoints these invaders and starts trying to neutralize them. Once your immune system senses toxins, it starts to form antibodies that are customized to fight off the harmful invader. For every virus your body fights off, your immune system keeps that particular antibody so it can attack the invader again if you are exposed to the same toxins later. Because of antibodies, your body only has to fight off certain viruses, like chickenpox, one time in your life. This is why we get vaccines for certain diseases and viruses. The vaccine works much like your immune system by building your body's resistance to sickness. When you have an antibody for a certain pathogen, your body will maintain it for the remainder of your life. 

How Sleep Is Related to Your Immune System 

When all the systems in your body are working correctly and you're healthy, your immune system can fight off sickness. Since your immune system and your central nervous system are connected, changes that occur in your body, like not getting enough sleep or engaging in high-stress situations, can affect the way your immune system functions. Sleep gives your immune system an opportunity to restore itself and come up with a plan to attack toxins. When you're not getting the rest you need, your body will have a hard time creating antibodies. 

Tips for Getting Better Sleep

It's necessary to get enough sleep to keep yourself healthy. However, many Americans will delay rest to get more work done, spend time with friends, interact with others on social media, or engage in other forms of entertainment. In the long run, this can have a negative impact on your immune system. Here are some helpful suggestions that will make it easier to get a full night's sleep each night. 

  • Get a supportive memory foam or hybrid mattress that suits your sleep style, whether you're a back sleeper, stomach sleeper, side sleeper, or combination sleeper     

  • Turn off all blue-light devices like your phone or computer at least two hours before bedtime or, at the very least, use blue light blocking glasses

  • Set your room to the optimal temperature for sleep which is roughly      65 degrees

  • Progressively dim the room since bright lights are more likely to keep you on high alert making it harder to fall asleep      

  • Engage in a relaxing activity like journaling or reading before bed 

Ways to Fight the Coronavirus 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking certain precautions to lower your risk of getting COVID-19. These include: 

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds

  • Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% isopropyl alcohol when you're not able to wash your hands 

  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes 

  • Stay away from individuals who exhibit symptoms of coronavirus 

  • Stay home if you're sick

  • Wear a face mask in public spaces, especially if you feel sick or you're caring for someone who is sick

  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces thoroughly to prevent the spread of germs

When you do all you can to stay safe and get adequate rest, you can protect your body against harmful illnesses like COVID-19.

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