Is sleep essential? You could be thinking if it isn’t, then you’d have more time in a day. Indeed, it’s an old question. And though a couple of humans have laid their claim as ‘sleepless’ for years, we can’t argue we don’t need it. Medical science tells us you’re bound to experience detrimental changes to your body if you don’t sleep within 24 hours.
To boot, a day without sleep means increasing stress hormones are bound to pump up your blood pressure levels. One man learned this the hard way. Choosing to watch all the soccer games of the European Championship, he binge-watched all the games non-stop, forgoing sleep for days. After the 11th day, he died.
Well, here’s another reason why you should prioritize getting your Z’s in order. Experts detail a solid amount of sleep is one effective way to keep COVID-19 at bay. At a time when thousands of Americans are falling prey to the pandemic, getting yourself a distinct advantage over the virus is no tiny measure.
It’s all about self-care. Quite easily, you could fall into the trap of anxiety as the virus pummel America. Instead of wasting time and precious energy on worrying, channeling all that to self-care is wise. And that should start with sleeping right. Here’s how.
A Good Night’s Rest versus the Virus
Right off the bat, know that the very act of getting ample sleep is a great first step in fighting the virus. For starters, ample rest boosts the immunity system.
When you’re asleep, your body’s immune system releases cytokines, proteins that are essential to fight an infection or an inflammation. When you deprive yourself of sleep, you lose the golden chance of helping your body repair and defend itself against health complications.
To make matters worse, antibodies that fight infections are greatly reduced when you cut yourself short of needed sleep. In the process, you weaken your immune system.
When everything seems up in the air with the virus, it’s easy for your mental health to be hugely affected. CDC reports mental health issues are growing by leaps and bounds during the pandemic.
It’s a vicious cycle. As people continually feed themselves with all the negative news from their smartphones, their stress levels also rise. Not only is such unpleasant news disturbing, but the repetitive act can also adversely affect one’s ability to catch sleep.
Blue light from electronic screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone that makes us drowsy. In short, you lose your appetite for sleep.
Making Sleep Happen
Luckily, sleep is really not rocket science. Little adjustments in your sleep habits should prove useful in cornering an ample amount of Z’s.
Enhance your sleeping environment. Right from the get-go, know that your bedroom environment plays a huge factor in determining the kind of rest you get. Start with the temperature and keep it cool. There’s a reason why bears can sleep soundly in winter.
In this regard, keeping your air conditioning at just the right temperature is key. Additionally, a home generator service is spot-on in keeping things in order should a power outage happens. It ensures you get the best temperature you need even when the whole neighborhood is on blackout.
Plus, what your ears hear matters. You should employ a white noise machine to block outside noise when you’re situated near a street or the hallway.
Observe a sleep schedule. If you’re not sure how many hours you really need sleeping, try experimenting with different amounts. Once, established you should target that number each time.
To boot, while many adults would settle for six or seven hours, others can’t function right if sleeping less than eight hours. In retrospect, you should have more time to get enough rest now that our social activities have been drastically cut.
Seek me-time. The hour before bed should be a time for yourself alone. And that means no electronic screens whatsoever. You can read a book. Reading is a glorious way to introduce sleep to your routine. In addition, you can take a hot bath and listen to soothing music (no YouTube).
Minimize naps. Long naps can complicate things. The best you can do is to do 30-minute daytime sleep before 2 p.m. However, if you find sleep at nighttime evades you, you may have to drop your daylight naps altogether.
De-stress. Too much stress can get in the way of a good night’s rest. So aim to lower your stress levels by doing proactive things. As going to the gym may not be an option right now, do a pivot. You can learn a new hobby or take up gardening. Once you rein in stress, sleeping should come to you as naturally as the night turns into day.
Being able to sleep shouldn’t be a tough task. Make the necessary changes to ensure that you get that rest you need at night.