The Power of Sleep

The Power of Sleep
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The Power of Sleep

77% of American adults haven’t been sleeping as well since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Scourge Of Sleeplessness

We spend one-third of our lives either sleeping or attempting to sleep

  • Who Is Getting Enough Sleep?
    • Before the pandemic, most  Americans were getting enough sleep
      • 65% Employed
      • 60% Unemployed
      • 51% Those Unable to Work
    • With the unemployment at an all time high, and the added stress of a pandemic, sleep problems are more rampant than ever before
      • How will Americans use their extra time at home?
        • 11% getting more sleep
        • 37% watching Netflix
        • 32% exercising
        • 20% playing video games

At least 6 of the 10 leading causes of death* have been linked to lack of sleep

Sleep & Immunity

  • What Is Immunity?
    • Active Immunity: Exposing the body to an antigen to generate a long term adaptive immune response
      • Created by vaccination or recovering from infection with diseases such as chicken pox
    • Passive Immunity: Providing antibodies from another source to provide immediate, short term protection
      • Transferring antibodies from mother to infant or through plasma from recovered patients

Before COVID-19, the 4 coronaviruses known to cause common cold granted recovered patients only passive immunity, lasting a few months or years — Likely the reason people get colds so often

  • Innate Immunity: The body’s ability to defend against pathogens, even without active or passive immunity
    • Include natural defenses like coughing, tears, skin, hair, mucus, and stomach acid
  • How Does Sleep Impact Immunity?
    • Cytokines: Proteins produced and released during sleep that regulate both innate and adaptive immune systems
      • Lack of sleep reduces the immune responses that target infection and inflammation
    • White Blood Cells: A group of blood cells that fight infection, control immune response, and create antibodies
      • During sleep, white blood cells accumulate and fight off antigens trapped by lymphatic tissues 
    • Cortisol: Known as “the stress hormone”, reduces inflammatory response and triggers lower cytokine production
      • By acting as an anti-inflammatory, cortisol may improve immune function in short bursts — But chronically high-stress has the opposite effect
  • The Sleep/Stress Cycle
    • Cortisol and melatonin regulate sleep/wake cycles
      • Morning: 
        • High cortisol levels
        • Low melatonin levels
        • Higher blood pressure
        • Lower inflammation
        • Feeling awake and alert
      • Evening: 
        • Low cortisol levels
        • High melatonin levels
        • Lower blood pressure
        • Higher immune response
        • Feeling tired and drowsy
    • Too much stress raises cortisol levels, leading to
      • Sleep problems and fatigue
      • Issues with memory and focus
      • Poor immune function

In 2020, Americans will spend $52 billion on sleep aids and remedies — up from $41 billion in 2015

How To Get Better Sleep

  • Tips For Healthy Sleep
    • Be Consistent: 
      • Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends
      • Create a calming bedtime routine
      • Avoid evening snacks and caffeine after noon
    • Manage Light: 
      • Eliminate as much light as possible in your bedroom
      • Avoid screens for at least 1 hour before bed
      • Use bright morning light to feel more awake and alert
    • Make It Comfy:
      • Keep your bedroom cool — Ideally between 60 and 67℉
      • Eliminate distracting noises with ear plugs or white noise
      • Ensure your mattress and pillows are supportive and allergen free
  • Still Can’t Sleep?
    • Beware Of Naps: Napping may help you feel more rested during the day, but can make it harder to sleep at night 
    • Watch Your Intake: Substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and even spicy foods can interfere with sleep
    • Do Something Else: If you can’t fall asleep, go into another room and do something relaxing, then try again

Talk To A Doctor about any ongoing sleep problems

  • Sleep & COVID-19
    • 70% of American adults think lack of sleep increases their susceptibility to COVID-19
      • 48% say anxiety about the pandemic has led to trouble sleeping
    • Since the start of the pandemic, people around the world are reporting more vivid, odd, or memorable dreams
      • Research has shown
        • High stress and anxiety increases negative content in dreams
        • Dreams following traumatic events may be more intense and memorable
        • Social isolation leads to more dreams featuring friends and family
      • While dreams don’t affect the quality of your sleep it can be hard to fall asleep after waking from a nightmare — and bad dreams can have a “hangover” effect that carries into your next day
    • What habits help you sleep better?
      • Avoiding news about COVID-19: 46%
      • Spending evenings reading: 40%
      • Taking sleep supplements: 27%
      • Practicing meditation or yoga: 21%
    • 23% of Americans say stay-at-home has eroded their sleep schedule
      • 58% sleep more
      • 19% sleep less
  • How Much Sleep Is Enough?
    • “You need as much sleep as it takes for you to stay awake and alert the next day, without caffeine” — Dr. Nathaniel Watson, President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 
    • For most people, that’s at least 7 hours of sleep each night

Sleep better, stay healthier. — When’s the last time you got a good night’s rest?

Sources: 

https://sleepstandards.com/coronavirus-and-sleep-survey/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262060840_We_spend_about_one-third_of_our_life_either_sleeping_or_attempting_to_do_so

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html

https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/slideshows/top-10-causes-of-death-in-america?slide=12

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627640

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/sleep-deprivation-increases-alzheimers-protein

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201812/how-poor-sleep-can-affect-suicide-risks

https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/57/8/552/1474357

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-you-become-immune-sars-cov-2-180974532

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000821.htm

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity

https://bio.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Microbiology/Book%3A_Microbiology_(Kaiser)/Unit_5%3A_Innate_Immunity/11.4%3A_Early_Induced_Innate_Immunity/11.3C%3A_Cytokines_Important_in_Innate_Immunity

https://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2796.2003.01195.x?sid=nlm%3Apubmed

https://www.britannica.com/science/lymph-node

https://www.elisagenie.com/blog/cortisol-and-the-immune-response

https://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/healthy-sleep-tips

https://time.com/5821896/coronavirus-nightmares-dreams

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/do-dreams-affect-how-well-you-sleep

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/ https://thesleepdoctor.com/2020/03/24/cortisol-and-its-effects-on-your-sleep/