Good sleep

Good sleep has never been so important 

Infectious Disease, ,

Recently we presented some things you can do to strengthen your immune system. Of these, the most important thing most people can do is— get better sleep. Here are more details how to do that.

Why sleep is critical

During sleep your body regenerates and optimizes important components of your immune system, including cytokines and T cells. If you don’t sleep long enough, or your sleep is not of good quality, your immune system will not be optimized, and you will be more susceptible to viruses, including COVID-19.

The best research study on sleep and susceptibility to viruses was published in 2015 in the medical journal Sleep. The data showed that people who slept less than 6 hours per night were more than 4 times as likely to become sick (when intentionally challenged with a virus), compared to people who got at least 7 hours of sleep. Most people should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

To get quality sleep

Dark bedroom, comfortable bed

The darker you can get your bedroom the better. Think about the comfort of your pillow and mattress. Haven’t changed your pillow in a couple years? Get a new one. It can make a huge difference. If your mattress is old or too soft, think about a new one, if you can afford it. Even the simple act of changing clean sheets weekly can help you sleep better. 

Avoid electronics and news before bed

Computers, TVs, tablets, and cell phones all emit a light that is close to the spectrum of sunlight. This is fine during the day, but at night, this bluish light tells your brain to stay awake. Blue light decreases the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. 

Try to avoid using any of these devices for 90 minutes before bedtime. This also helps you avoid reading news before bed. Most news will not help you sleep better.  Instead of electronics before bed, try reading a book (using a yellow tinted light) or listening to calming music.

Use night shift option

Most devices have a night shift option, which makes the screen more yellow and less blue at nighttime. Use it!

Buy yellow tinted LED bulbs

You can choose between the regular blue tinted LED bulb or a more yellow one. Choose the yellow one for your bedroom and for the rooms you will be in before bed.

Avoid alcohol at night 

You might think it helps you sleep better, but not really. It might help you fall asleep initially, but then you are much more likely to have lower-quality, fragmented sleep later at night. Alcohol disturbs your sleep cycles.

No food before bed

Avoid eating for at least 2 hours before bed. This helps minimize nighttime acid reflux, which may waken you at night.

Exercise daily

If you can get outside, a 30-minute brisk walk—or something more vigorous—is great. Just use a mask and keep 2 meters distant from others. If you need to stay inside, use an exercise video or do something that gets your blood moving for at least 30 minutes every day.


If you can get outside, get at least 20 minutes of sunlight daily. If you can’t get outside, sit on a veranda or get sunlight through an open window if possible.

Gratitude journal

If you are anxious before you sleep, start a gratitude journal. Keep a small notebook by your bed, and spend a few minutes before sleep writing down things you are grateful for. Sounds silly, but works, and decreases anxiety.

If you get ill

If you get ill with a virus and have problems sleeping, talk to a doctor. Sleeping pills have possible side effects, but good sleep is important for your recovery. Ask if a low dose sleeping pill for a week or so might be worthwhile. 

We hope these hints help! Check out our video on this subject for more information!

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

How to boost your immunity in the age of coronavirus

How homemade chicken soup can help you during the COVID crisis

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

Recommended doctors

This post is related to the specialties Clinical Medicine, Infectious Disease. Below is a list of some doctors related to these specialties.