How can you prevent yourself from getting extremely sick from the coronavirus?
Eat properly. Avoid stress. Exercise. Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
I’m sure you’ve already heard these suggestions many times.
But there’s another secret weapon: sleep.
A while ago I read the book “Why We Sleep”. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. We all know sleep is important, but until reading this book I never realized just how much. Unfortunately, most people are chronically sleep deprived (and might not even know it).
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the discoveries in this book are especially important today. Below I have listed some key excerpts about how sleep greatly influences your immune system.
“Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer. Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease.”
“Sleep fights against infection and sickness by deploying all manner of weaponry within your immune arsenal, cladding you with protection. When you do fall ill, the immune system actively stimulates the sleep system, demanding more bed rest to help reinforce the war effort. Reduce sleep even for a single night, and that invisible suit of immune resilience is rudely stripped from your body.”
“Natural killer cells will effectively punch a hole in the outer surface of these cancerous cells and inject a protein that can destroy the malignancy. What you want, therefore, is a virile set of these James Bond-like immune cells at all times. That is precisely what you don’t have when sleeping too little.”
“Dr. Michael Irwin at the University of California, Los Angeles, has performed landmark studies revealing just how quickly and comprehensively a brief dose of short sleep can affect your cancer-fighting immune cells. Examining healthy young men, Irwin demonstrated that a single night of four hours of sleep – such as going to bed at three a.m. and waking up at seven a.m. – swept away 70 percent of the natural killer cells circulating in the immune system, relative to a full eight-hour night of sleep. That is a dramatic state of immune deficiency to find yourself facing, and it happens quickly, after essentially one “bad night” of sleep. You could well imagine the enfeebled state of your cancer-fighting immune armory after a week of short sleep, let alone months or even years.”
If you have the means, I highly recommend obtaining the book. If you don’t have the means, you can borrow it from your local public library.