If you're not sleeping well these days, you're not alone. "A survey by OnePoll, commissioned by Leesa Sleep, took a look at about 2,000 Americans during this era of COVID-19 social distancing and working from home," according to CBS. "The survey found that about 60% of adults say they're more tired than they've ever felt before." Click through to read what could happen if you did sleep better—and how that could help you fight COVID-19. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
You Have Optimal Brain Function
"The 'brain plasticity theory' says that sleep is required for optimal brain function. In particular, sleep provides an environment where nerve cells (neurons) can reorganize," says Dr. Daniel Lanzer. "So, when we sleep well, long and consistently, this gives our brain's systems more unfettered time to do their jobs all the more effectively."
You Have a Stronger Immune System
"Sleep is essential for life," Gregory Charlop, MD. "When you sleep well, you strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of infection." This is ever-so-important in the age of COVID-19.
You Can Experience Weight Loss
"A good night's sleep, combined with a healthy diet and exercise can lead to weight loss," says Leann Poston M.D. "It can help decrease cravings for foods high in fat and carbohydrates."
It Helps With Neurotransmitters
"Sleeping well allows our brain to lay the framework for improved memory and restock our brain's neurotransmitters and hormones for the day ahead," says Jared Heathman, MD. "Neurotransmitters that are more present during the day replenish and GABA, a relaxing neurotransmitter, plays a larger role."
You Will Feel More Refreshed
"When you sleep adequately, your brain consolidates your memories and gets refreshed," says Omiete Charles-Davies, a medical doctor who leads the team at onedoctor.app, a health and wellness website. "You will feel brighter, in a better mood, and make better decisions."
You Have Improved Memory and Speech
"Memory, focus, and learning ability are improved," says Alex Dimitriu, MD. "Recall of facts and words is better, so our language and thoughts become more fluid as well."
You Won't Need Caffeine
"If you get good sleep consistently you'll feel less of a need for caffeinated drinks like coffee to get you going in the morning," says Andrea Paul, MD, Medical Advisor to Illuminate Labs. "Which leads to a positive feedback loop of better sleep that same night."
You Respond Better to Vaccinations
"A past study from the NIH suggested that sleep can affect the efficiency of vaccinations," says Dr. Daniel Lanzer. "In its research, the NIH showed that well-rested people who received the flu vaccine developed stronger protection against the illness." This is incredibly important now that there is a vaccine for COVID-19.
You Have a Better Quality of Life
"Sleep is very important—it is what gives you the energy to function and be productive," says Dr. Soroush Zaghi. "With quality sleep, kids learn better in school, athletes perform better on the field, and employees accomplish more in the office," says Dr. Charlop. "You'll live longer and enjoy more energy."
You No Longer Worry About Sleep
"You feel refreshed and no longer worry about sleep," says Daniel Erichsen MD. "The vicious cycle of poor sleep producing more difficulties sleeping is broken and you continue sleeping well for the rest of your life."
What Else to Keep in Mind
"When you sleep well every night, or at least most nights, your brain goes through a complex restorative process. During the sleep cycle your brain regulates your metabolism, secretes growth hormones to rebuild and repair cells, and works to organize information accumulated during the day," says Dr. Philip E. Stieg, chairman of neurological surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. "Sufficient, high-quality sleep is extremely significant for many areas of health, but particularly the health of your brain." As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.