Use Sleep to Protect Against Coronavirus

March 13, 2020—One of the most important ways to keep your immune system strong during the coronavirus outbreak is to get enough sleep, said Dr. Anuj Chandra, medical director of the Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders.

Strengthen Your Immune System with Sleep

“Sleep is essential to keeping your immune system strong, which is one of the fundamental things you need to do in a time like now, when we are trying to deal with this unprecedented situation with the novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Chandra. 

Recent research has found that lack of sleep reduces your body’s production of T-cells, which are a critical part of the immune system that protect the body from viruses, bacteria, parasites and cancer cells.

Keep Your Regular Sleep Routine

“Worry and fear about the coronavirus can easily lead to disruptions in your sleeping patterns as well as difficulty sleeping,” said Dr. Chandra. “Do your best to stick to your regular schedule for sleeping and waking.

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

It would also be a good idea to consume alcohol only in moderation or avoid alcohol completely until the risk of coronavirus transmission is lower, said Dr. Chandra.

“A small amount of alcohol might allow healthy people to fall asleep a little bit quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but over the entire night it tends to impair your sleep and can even cause insomnia,” said Dr. Chandra. “Larger amounts of alcohol almost always disrupt healthy sleep.”

“Drinking every day or almost every day can also weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections,” he added.

Wash More than Hands

Because the coronavirus enters the body mostly through the nose and mouth, Dr. Chandra suggests that you should go beyond the essential advice to wash your hands frequently with with soap and warm water. In addition, you should:

  • Wash your face with soap and water to remove any virus particles that might be near your nose and mouth.
  • With a soapy finger, gently wash about a quarter-inch inside each nostril, then blow your nose.
  • Stop using nasal irrigation devices, such as neti pots, because that might push any virus that’s in your nose further inside.
  • Brush your teeth and tongue, and gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash.
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