How Much Sleep do We Need During Covid -19
Even under the best circumstances, it is difficult to sleep well at night. So, when you feel anxious or have things in your mind, the situation gets worse, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now, a good night’s sleep may be more important than ever.
Sleep is essential to maintain our health and mood. Sleep can also enhance our immune function and help us cope with stress.
How much sleep do we need?
Social isolation allows many of us to spend more time at home. For some people, this may mean more sleep-you suddenly have time to sleep in or even take a nap in the afternoon.
For others, breaking the rules may mean less sleep. You may stay up late to surf the Internet or follow news about the coronavirus, instead of going to bed on time as usual.
For adults, reaching 7-9 hours of sleep per night is their goal. If you know that you are a person who needs more or less sleep, then finding the perfect sleep time for you and persisting in achieving this goal is the key.
Sleep and our circadian rhythm system (or internal biological clock) are essential for regulating our mood, hunger, recovery from illness or injury, and our cognitive and physical functions.
Changing our daily wake-up time may affect all these functions. For example, changes in sleep time each night are associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The long-term consequences of sleep problems include obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Sleep and immune function
The decline in sleep quality and/or sleep time affects our immunity and makes us more susceptible to diseases including viruses.
During sleep, the immune system releases a protein called cytokine. Certain cytokines are important to fight infection and inflammation, and help us cope with stress. But when our sleep is insufficient or sleep is disrupted, these important cytokines produced by our body will decrease.
In one study, participants were exposed to the common cold (rhinovirus). People who sleep less than 7 hours a night are almost three times more likely to catch a cold than people who sleep 8 hours or more a night.
Another study showed that not going to sleep for one night may delay our immune response and slow down our body’s ability to recover.
Although we do not have any research on the relationship between sleep and coronavirus, we can expect to see a similar pattern.
Sleep and stress: a vicious circle
You may have heard the phrase “insomnia”. We say this because stress can negatively affect the quality and duration of sleep.
Lack of sleep can also cause a physiological stress response, increasing the level of stress hormones in our body, such as cortisol.
Cortisol levels usually peak in the morning and evening. If you do not sleep well at night, you may feel more stressed, have difficulty concentrating, become more emotional, and may have difficulty falling asleep the next night.
Long-term lack of sleep can make us more susceptible to stress and make us less flexible in dealing with daily stress.
Think of sleep as your “shield” against stress. Lack of sleep can damage the protective shield. When you don’t have enough sleep, the shield will split and you will be more susceptible to stress. But when you have enough sleep, the shield will recover.
The important thing is to stop this cycle, learn to manage stress, and put sleep first.
To give yourself a chance to get enough sleep, plan to go to bed eight to nine hours before your usual wake-up time.
This may not be possible every night. However, no matter how long you slept the night before, stick to a fixed wake-up time, which will help improve your sleep quality and amount of sleep the next night.
Think about your environment. If you stay at home most of the time, use your bed as a place to sleep. You can also improve your sleep environment by the following methods:
Dim the lights at night, especially one hour before going to bed; minimize noise (if your bedroom has a lot of noise, you can try earplugs); optimize the temperature of your room by using a fan, or set one on your air conditioner A timer to make sure you feel comfortable.
Make a rule before going to bed to relax your spirit and prepare for sleep. This may include: setting an alarm one hour before going to bed to indicate that it is time to start preparations; taking a hot bath; turning off the screen or setting the phone to airplane mode one hour before going to bed; using a book, stretching exercises, or soft music Relax.
Some other good ways to reduce stress and improve sleep include:
Exercise every day: In order to maximize the benefits of sleep, exercise in natural light in the morning; integrate relaxation into your daily life; limit caffeine, alcohol and cigarette intake, especially a few hours before bed.
Some nights are better than others. But at this unprecedented moment, in order to improve your immunity and keep your mind clear, sleep is the most important thing.
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