How Quality Sleep Now May Lessen The Severity of COVID-19 Symptoms Later

Expert-recommended sleep advice to help build your immunity.

By Toni Gasparis
Photo of a Black woman asleep.

Nov. 5, 2020 — 6 a.m. EST

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy life. Unfortunately, the pandemic and its related stress has made even falling asleep difficult for a lot of people — let alone being able to get quality sleep. Given the crucial role sleep plays in making sure your immune system functions properly, getting adequate rest is now more important than ever. As it turns out, poor sleep may be linked to COVID-19 complications.

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To explain exactly how the two are linked and what you can do to improve your sleep and your health, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Michael Roizen, came on The Dr. Oz Show on Nov. 5, 2020, to help break it down. “Any time you decrease stress, which you can do by getting more sleep, you’ll have a better response to infections,” says Dr. Roizen. “Your immune system has a higher ability to fight infections and colds if you get more sleep because your immune system senses a hormonal change in your body by releasing certain hormones. Sleeping longer your hormones get normalized. You're able to function better with adequate sleep,” he continues. In fact, flu vaccine studies have shown people who got six-and-a-half hours or more sleep every night had a more effective immune response than those who did not. If you’re not sure how to get a good night’s sleep (especially if you’re going to bed stressed about the pandemic), Dr. Roizen has three tips that can help.

Sleep Cooler

It may sound counterintuitive to sleep in a cooler environment in the winter to avoid getting sick, but sleeping in lower temperatures can help you sleep better. Keeping your bedroom cool helps decrease your core temperature, which has been proven to help you sleep deeper and better. The warmer your body the more restless you’ll be. Dr. Roizen recommends setting your thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep.

Drink Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice may assist with melatonin production, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle. In one 2018 study, cherry juice was found to help with insomnia. Drink a small glass of juice an hour or so before you go to bed.

Block Blue Light

Blue light, produced by electronic devices such as computers, TVs, and phones, disrupts your sleep. Blue light suppresses melatonin, which messes with your internal clock and can cause poor quality sleep. The best thing to do would be to make a pledge to stop looking at electronics up to one hour or more before bedtime. If you can’t seem to step away from your electronics before bed, Dr. Roizen recommends purchasing a blue-light-blocking screen protector.

Try implementing these three steps into your sleep routine gradually over a five-day period and see if they help. Improvements might be subtle at first, but you can tell your sleep quality is improving if 1) you’re waking up later 2) you’re waking up less at night 3) you’re not waking up tired 4) you can get through the day with a decent amount of energy. Supplement a good night’s sleep with a healthy diet and regular exercise to keep your immune system strong. For the latest information on COVID-19, visit Dr. Oz’s COVID-19 Center for updates.

Related:

If Sleeping During COVID-19 Is Difficult, Here’s What You Can Do to Help It

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Is It Possible to Be Immune from COVID-19?

Article written by Toni Gasparis