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COVID-19 has brought the world into uncharted waters. While the countries are on lockdown, the economy has ground to a halt, many people are afraid for themselves and their loved ones.
With such unprecedented changes coming on so quickly, it’s understandable that the importance of sleep is flying under the radar. But as we all adjust to stay-at-home orders and try to remain healthy in these tough times, focusing on sleeping well offers tremendous benefits.
In this webinar by ekincare, Dr. Sibashish Dey, Head Clinical Affairs - ResMed focuses on sleep patterns and their effect on immunity.
Almost one-third of our life is spent sleeping.
Researchers have demonstrated the importance of good-quality sleep time and time again, showing that a solid night’s rest can contribute to many aspects of physical and mental well-being. Dr. Sibashish says, when we are sleeping our immunity is really active as our body releases a different type of hormones which actually regulates our immunity, our brain goes into a mode where it is consolidating our memories and preparing us for the next day. Our heart rate goes down to around 10 to 20 percent so our heart gets to rest. Kidneys tend to slow down our respiratory rate and our breathing also goes down. As most of the organ systems kind of slow down, while we are asleep, it happens for a purpose - to give the body some rest.
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our sleep health remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.
According to Dr. Dey, young kids typically sleep for around 10 to 14 hours a day while teenagers need to sleep for at least 9 to 10 hours a day. On the other hand, people like us who are over 18 years of age till around 50-55 years of age, need around 7 to 9 hours of sleep. It is also very interesting to know that as we grow old, our requirement for sleep also goes down.
Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond.
Feelings of depression and anxiety can make it harder for you to stay asleep or to sleep deeply; they can also cause you to have more fragmented sleep patterns that leave you feeling fatigued the next day even though you logged enough hours in bed. Of course, depression itself can be accompanied by low energy, so it is hard to tell whether daytime drowsiness is a result of mood-related poor sleep, or low mood itself. Either way, if you are shuffling through your day when you’ve spent enough hours in bed the night before, your mood may be playing a role.
Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample sleep. It’s also important to practice smart stay-healthy strategies such as washing your hands with soap regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are obviously under the weather and talking with your doctor about getting an annual flu shot. And remember: Even if you do come down with a case of seasonal sniffles, you’ll be able to bounce back faster if your body is well-rested.