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While global uncertainty and 24/7 updates may be tempting more of us to stay up and follow the news all night, skimping on sleep during a global pandemic isn’t a good idea. That’s because getting adequate sleep can help build our body’s natural defenses against illness and keep our minds healthy amidst the coronavirus crisis as well.
In terms of our physical immunity, a study from the University of Washington Medicine found that chronic short sleep is terrible for our immune response. And other research found that sleep helps our immune system recover.
As far as keeping our minds healthy, sleep replenishes our mood, memory, decision-making, and empathy reserves, all of which are especially critical during this time where we’re all so anxious. Our lack of sleep can even negatively affect others: One study found that even a minute-long interaction with someone who’s sleep-deprived can make us feel more lonely ourselves.
Clearly, getting good sleep is more important than ever right now, and luckily, protecting our sleep is possible by taking small, simple steps. Here are three Microsteps that you can try tonight that can help make getting a good night’s rest — and therefore protecting your immunity — a little easier during difficult times:
Before you get into bed, remove your devices from your bedroom. Our phones can trigger stress and fears. Disconnecting will help you sleep better.
Set a news cut-off time at the end of the day. While being informed can help you feel more prepared amid a public health crisis, setting healthy limits to your media consumption can help you have a restorative night’s sleep and put the stressful news into perspective.
Write down a list of what you’re grateful for before bed. Writing down what you’re grateful for at the end of the day will lower your stress levels, take your mind off the news of the day, and give you a greater sense of calm at night.
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