As I’ve discussed in previous posts, sleep, and getting enough of it, is an essential health factor that interacts with almost every other contributor to our wellbeing. If you sleep better, you are able to manage your weight better. If you sleep better, you are less at risk to conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. So why is getting enough sleep even more important now than ever?
TED, the non-profit educational organisation, continue to put out content to help us understand and be inspired by the phenomena happening around the world; now altering their usual format where speakers provide a remote lecture via video call. As you can imagine, their content is very much focused on COVID-19, and how we as a collective can come together to stop the virus in it’s tracks.
Recently they released a video titled Why sleep matters now more than ever, hosting a conversation with Matt Walker, a sleep scientist at University of California, Berkeley. Please see the video linked below:
In the video he talks about why sleep is important to us in general, and how we can practice better sleep hygiene. However, he goes on to talk about why in the light of this global pandemic we need to be prioritising how we are sleeping.
Now that most of us have a lack of commute in and out of work/school, we have more opportunities to create a better sleep-wake schedule, to help regulate all of our functioning. That including our immune system, which Walker highlights as being very much linked to the quality of sleep we get each and every night.
The interesting part comes when the discussion moves towards vaccines. Of course, we need to have good sleep in order for our natural immune system to fight off the virus. However, Walker suggests that we also need good sleep to give any potential vaccine the best chances of doing the same. The discussion mentions a previous study where participants in recipient of a different type of vaccine showed an increase in effectiveness for those who had a better nights sleep!
It make sense really. Whenever we have a cold or flu, we’re always recommended to get plenty of bed rest. It’s no mistake that now that we are in a global pandemic, we should be aiming to secure better sleep every night.
If you are having difficulties sleeping, please do reach out for direct support: