Regardless of which part of the world you may be located, you’re probably aware that the Coronavirus has now become a global pandemic with thousands of people losing their lives. Worse still, medical experts believe the situation will get worse before it gets better.
According to CNN, sleeping without precautions can increase your vulnerability to catching the potentially fatal virus. This is why you should observe the right precautionary measures at bedtime to protect you from an infection.
What is Coronavirus?
This is a common virus that can lead to infection in the sinuses, nose, and upper throat. While they were mostly thought off as not fatal, the WHO identified a new strain of the virus known as COVID-19.
This strain which originated from China in December 2019 comes with symptoms such as fever, cough, and breathing difficulties potentially resulting in deaths.
How Does Sleeping Increase the Risk of Getting Infected?
There are 2 main determinants of getting sick from the Coronavirus: the number of infected particles that get into the lung and your susceptibility to lung infections.
One of the major differences between the Coronavirus and common flu viruses is that while the latter typically starts from the nose and throat, the former is more likely to infect areas such as the cells in the lungs, airways, and voicebox.
The Coronavirus may penetrate those areas via inhaling of infected particles as well as nasal and throat fluids that arrive in the windpipe by bypassing the voicebox – a process known as aspiration.
Unfortunately, aspiration is quite common in human beings of normal health. Research has shown that up to half of the global population aspirate during the night.
Here are the top 10 ways to ensure maximum protection from the Coronavirus COVID-19 in your sleep.
1. Avoid Alcohol
If you’re serious about lowering the risk of getting infected with the Coronavirus, it is important to ditch the alcohol until at least the pandemic dies out. This is because studies have shown that drinking a few bottles of beer or another type of alcohol increases the risk of aspiration during sleep.
As explained above, a higher risk of aspiration means a higher risk of larger numbers of the virus particles getting into the lungs upon contact. This can increase the risk of getting seriously ill from the infection and even losing your life when proper treatment is not put in place.
2. Stay Clear of Smokers
Do you have a partner or family member who has been smoking for years? He or she is likely to be more susceptible to catching the Coronavirus.
Remember, long-term smoking typically impairs the functioning of the lungs and airways. This means once a few viruses get into the nose or throat, the threat of a full-blown Coronavirus infection becomes even greater.
On the contrary, “healthy” folks with lower levels of vulnerability are likely to clear off these viruses or show mild symptoms even after making physical contact with an infected person.
Staying clear of smoking or asking smokers to self-isolate can be critical to protecting you and other members of the household from the virus.
3. Take a Warm Bath Before Bed
Taking a warm bath is one of the best ways to enjoy a good night of rest. But did you know that it can also help reduce the risk of catching a Coronavirus infection? According to experts, exposure to heat and sunlight negatively affects the growth and longevity of the virus.
Whether you’re following the normal daily routine or self-isolating at home, there’s always a risk of getting into physical contact with the virus.
Fortunately, taking a hot bath can kill any traces of the COVID-19 in your face, lips, hands, and other body areas as long as you pay particular attention to washing the hands, feet, and face with soap while in the bathtub. Additionally, make sure to foam your finger with soap, insert ¼ of it into a nostril, and blow it out gently. Repeat the process for the other nostril and make sure to wash the hands thoroughly afterward.
4. Wear the N-95 Mask to Bed
That’s right, the CDC recommends that all medical experts who may come into contact with infected patients should wear the coveted N-95 mask.
According to the Food and Drugs Administration, the N-95 masks can block out 95 percent of COVID-19 particles.
While government agencies are not recommending these masks for the general population yet, wearing one to bed can be a great idea particularly if you live with an excessive smoker or somebody who may have traveled to a Coronavirus-prone region recently.
Remember, if you have a compromised lung system, you could be at greater risk than the general population. The truth is wearing the right masks can be lifesaving in this scenario.
Make sure to check YouTube and other video streaming sites for visual instructions on how to wear the mask if you’re unsure of how to go about it.
5. Dress warmly to bed
Whether you’ve spent some time outside or have been indoors all day, wearing warmer clothes can help you seek cold air even during chilly weather, according to CNN.
Besides, the importance of changing clothes at bedtime cannot be overemphasized. Harvard Health notes that this is one of the best ways to prevent exposure to the germs especially if you accidentally make contact with the virus outdoors.
Make sure to change bedtime clothes every night to lower the risk of infection. In the morning, remove all the clothes you wore, put them in the washing machine, and set them to the warmest temperature setting possible, according to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Note that all washed clothes should be dried completely to kill the virus.
6. Brush Your Teeth and Tongue, Swish and Spit
Brushing your teeth before hitting the hay can be another important step towards reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection during your sleep. Set out to clean the teeth thoroughly, paying particular attention to the tongue to ensure any Coronavirus particles in the mouth can be effectively neutralized.
Additionally, know that these particles may have already made their way towards the throat. So gargle with warm water, swish, and spit out any mucus from the throat as much as possible before leaving the bathroom for the bedroom.
6. Avoid Sedatives
Do you frequently need to take Ambien or Benadryl to fall asleep? Well, this may be the time to try natural remedies of drifting off such as reading in bed and undergoing light exercise at home in the evening.
This is because sedatives, which are usually benzodiazepines have been linked with increased risk of pneumonia, according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Like alcohol, benzodiazepines increase the risk of aspiration in the sleeper. This can create the pathway for significant numbers of Coronavirus particles to penetrate the throat, leading to the risk of severe sickness.
7. Leave the Restroom Open at Night
Many of us close the door to our restrooms, especially at night. However, unless you live alone, leaving it open can lower your exposure to Coronavirus particles.
Firstly, closing it means another member of the household who may have come into contact with the virus’ particles will have to touch the doorknob to enter the bathroom, making it easier for other members of the household to get exposed to the same infected particles during their bathroom visits.
Also, if somebody has just coughed hard in the bathroom, closing it can hinder the ability of the virus particles to diffuse quickly. Another family member who walks into the bathroom afterward may be more likely to inhale the infected particles as well.
This can increase the risk of the virus spreading to other members of the family.
8. Sleep for 7-9 hours
Are you looking to boost your immune system to fend off the risk of a Coronavirus infection? 7-9 hours of shuteye could do the trick.
According to Australian sleep specialist Olivia Arrezolo, sleeping for 7-9 hours a night can provide the necessary level of fitness to fight off the virus successfully. She revealed that there’s evidence that 70 percent of the body’s natural immune cells are lost when a person gets only 4-5 hours of shut-eye. This makes you susceptible to contracting infectious viruses such as the COVID-19.
Arrezolo further went on that those who sleep 5-6 hours a night are four times more likely to catch a virus compared to those who get 7 hours of sleep. This means staying up for even an hour more to catch up on one episode of The Walking Dead on Netflix can increase your risk of virus contraction by 400 percent.
9. Sleep in Separate Bedrooms
Has your partner been potentially exposed to the COVID-19 particles? Not only should you follow the recommended medical protocol in your city but you should also sleep in separate bedrooms if possible.
Even if there are no spare bedrooms, moving to the sofa while the potentially infected person stays isolated in the bedroom can be a good preventative measure. The last thing you want is lying side by side with a partner who may have come into contact with the infection.
It can increase the chances of getting infected yourself as he or she continues to breathe directly in your face.
How to Get Quality Sleep To Fight Off the Coronavirus
While sleeping for the required number of hours is important, getting the right quality of sleep is even more critical. Here are the best tips to stimulate the most satisfying sleep at night while also ramping up your immunity levels to minimize the risk of getting the potentially deadly Coronavirus.
1. Limit Blue Light in the Evening
With many parts of the world hard hit by the coronavirus right now, it can be tempting to spend a lot of time at night reading through news articles and checking out social media postings about the virus.
However, the blue light emitted by smartphones, iPads, and other popular bedtime gadgets like laptops may deprive you of quality sleep. These lights can trick the brain into believing it is not time to sleep yet thereby delaying when melatonin is secreted to help you drift off into Dreamland.
Switching off these gadgets can be the key to getting a good night of rest, according to Healthline. This can allow the brain to figure out when you’re tired as well as what time of the night it is so rapid sleep can occur.
2. Take a Warm Bath or Shower
Lower body temperature is one of the vital preconditions for blissful sleep. As long as your temperature remains high, the brain takes it as a cue to help you stay alert and this is why a warm bath at bedtime can work wonders if you want the best shut-eye.
Quartz says the warm nature of hot baths pushes a lot of blood flow to the surface notably in areas such as the feet and hands.
This sudden rush of blood cools down the body’s internal temperature by pushing the heat from the core to the surface and ignoring the temperature in the sleeper’s atmosphere.
Once the body temperature plummets, signals are sent to the brain to start the sleep-inducing process by releasing the right sleep hormones to lower the heart rate and reduce the sleeper’s alertness levels.
3. Drink Chamomile Tea
Have you been diagnosed with insomnia or perhaps suffer regular anxiety at bedtime when you’re supposed to be sleeping? Either way, Chamomile tea can transform the quality of your sleep overnight.
This powerful herb offers properties that fight against inflammation while also calming the mind to enable you to sleep. After a hard stressful day of work, a cup of chamomile tea may be all you need to doze off, wake up fully energized, and be properly positioned to fight off any Coronavirus particles you may have accidentally made contact with.
Chamomile tea can also boost how long it takes to fall asleep and reduce the risk of waking up several times during the night.
3. Lay Off The Caffeine
Getting the maximum duration and quality of sleep is one of the most tried and tested ways to get a fully-oiled immune system that can fight against various diseases. The negative effects of coffee on sleep quality are well-known.
But to be sure, lay off drinking caffeine during this period of the pandemic. If that seems impossible, at least limit the number of cups you drink daily. Experts believe that the average person needs no more than 400 mg of caffeine within 24 hours. That translates to 4 cups per day so keep that in mind as you brew cup after cup of coffee.
Lastly, avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon as that can inhibit the ability to sleep during nighttime.
4. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Noise-canceling headphones can be worthwhile if you’re desperate to get the right level of sleep during a pandemic such as the COVID-19. These phones mute background noises so you can focus on more pleasant noise that can offer relaxation.
Fortunately, there are various types of these headphones on Amazon across virtually every price point. Finding one that meets your budget and needs should be easy regardless of personal circumstances.
You can use your headphones to listen to soothing music at bedtime – one of the best ways to drift off quickly and stay asleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation, if you’re having trouble sleeping, even 30 minutes of soothing music can have a sedative effect on the body.
Personally, I use the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise-Canceling Headphones from Amazon. It provides high-resolution audio that mutes all background noises. It is highly recommended for anyone that wants to sleep in a crowded area.
Meditation is an ancient method that has been used in the successful treatment of insomnia for centuries. This is because it involves training a person to focus on positive thoughts which can distract the mind from other troubles that may be causing anxiety.
Meditation can also offer deep relaxation which is one of the prerequisites to falling asleep. The good news is that meditation is safe and can be employed with other sleep techniques to eliminate the symptoms of chronic insomnia. It also offers additional positives for your health including lower blood pressure, lower anxiety, and reduced stress.
With the fear and panic caused by COVID-19, meditation can come in handy for you at bedtime.
6. Read a Book
If you’re desperate to sleep without success, why not pick a book and start reading? Reading is one of the most popular ways of calming a disturbed mind.
There’s a ton of research to back insinuations that reading boring materials boosts sleep. But others believe even interesting fiction can supercharge the brain into inducing sleep.
According to the Sleep Council, 39 percent of those who read something at bedtime show significant improvements in sleep duration and quality.
A study published in the Telegraph showed that reading lowers stress by about 68 percent. This is far more superior to other known stress-reducers such as music (61 percent), tea (54 percent), and taking a stroll (42 percent).
Other Measures to Limit Your Exposure to Coronavirus
Several additional measures can limit your exposure to the virus and keep you safe. Observing these Coronavirus preventative measures may not only save your life but can also eliminate the possibility of reinfecting your friends and family.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, eyes, and nose
- Avoid contact with infected persons
- Stay hydrated
Staying risk-free from COVID-19 requires a combination of hygiene, preventative measures, and common sense. Firstly, it is important to take the necessary steps to lower your risk of coming into contact with the virus particles.
But beyond that, making sure to limit physical contact with potentially infectious friends and family can work well.
Finally, try to incorporate the right tips to enhance the quality of your sleep at night. This can help build up your immunity levels to successfully fight off the infection if there’s an accidental exposure.