This Sunday, most Americans reset their clock to “spring forward.” This March time adjustment, when lose an hour of sleep, is a lot less fun than then when we “fall back.” The truth is that any disruption of our sleep schedule, even one hour, can create mayhem on our circadian rhythms. During normal times, the effect is usually felt for only a few days afterwards.
But these are not normal times. The pandemic has changed most people’s routines, including their physical activity, eating habits and electronic usage. Not only has this negatively impacted on sleep habits and sleep quality, but it has led to an emergence of sleep disorders as well. Loss of sleep affects not only mood and attention, but also the body’s immune functioning and ability to fight infections.
COVID-19 Related Sleep Disruption
The National Sleep Foundation advises that the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep. Unfortunately Neurologists who specialize in sleep, are seeing an increase in sleep disorders associated with Covd-19. Dissolution of daily schedules, reduced exposure to sunlight (particularly in the morning), excessive daytime napping and excessive use of electronic media (particularly near bedtime) all contribute to disrupted sleep patterns. These disorders are now known as COVID-somnia.
Lack of sleep can affect your overall and mental health as well as make you prone to serious medical conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. This is especially worrisome since people suffering from diseases with an inflammatory component, are more likely to get COVID-19 and have an increased level of morbidity and mortality.
Sleep Disorders And Overall Health
Sleep is such an important part of our lives. It helps your body restore and repair and maintain a strong immune system. If you are feeling run down, you know you are more likely to catch a cold or just feel under the weather. Things that affect your sleep are very important to identify and eliminate or treat. One such condition that may be overlooked is sleep apnea (or any sleep related breathing disorder).
Recent medical studies have shown that people with sleep apnea are more likely to get severe COVID disease or be hospitalized. Anything that affects breathing during sleep will affect the quality of the sleep you get, hence the ability of your immune system to stay well tuned. Especially since the most common medical conditions that can affect your susceptibility, may also increase the risk of getting COVID-19 as well as the level of morbidity and mortality.
Medical Conditions That Increase Susceptibility To COVID-19
The most common medical conditions that affect your susceptibility to getting Covid-19 are: cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease and diabetes. All these diseases have an inflammatory component.
Other conditions that cause systemic inflammation have similar effects to those previously mentioned. Periodontal disease is one such condition that causes systemic inflammation and has been shown to have a significant impact on severity of Coronavirus disease. Again, those afflicted with periodontal disease are more likely to get sick with COVID and have a higher likelihood of hospitalization.
Controlling inflammation in your body is a critical factor in maintaining good overall health. Since the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has never been more important.
Protecting Your Overall Health
We all need to be concerned with our overall wellness and how well our immune system is functioning. The better your immune system, the more likely you are to get over a bout of COVID without any serious complications and, or lasting symptoms. While we are still learning about COVID and all the variables that determine level of morbidity, there are many facts that we do know.
Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and getting adequate rest boost your immune system. Controlling inflammation in your body is a critical factor in maintaining good overall health. Also getting a good night’s sleep, should be a priority. Sleep powers the mind, restores the body, and fortifies virtually every system in the body.
If a sleep disorder is keeping you up at night, speak to your doctor or dentist. A dentist specially trained to treat sleep disorders, can facilitate in helping you get the right treatment.
There’s Hope Ahead!
Thankfully, COVID vaccines are finally getting in the arms of many people in our country and around the world. This is a positive development in trying to end the pandemic, but please remember with or without the vaccine; you need to do everything in your control to help maintain good health and a strong immune system. Eat well, get lots of rest, exercise and continue to practice Covid-19 mitigation.
If you would like any reference articles for the medical studies mentioned, please contact Dr. Robert Rawdin at [email protected]