As A Conscious Collection’s resident sleep expert, it’s a pleasure to share that there is a very easy way you can boost immunity against COVID19: sleep.
If you’re not sure how important it is, look no further than a 2015 study by University of California which found your likelihood of contracting an illness is 4 times higher if you’re sleeping 6 hours rather than 7.
The reasoning behind it? A few key factors:
- studies show sleep enhances your production of natural immune cells (NK cells) by 70%
- clinical trials show sleep can reduce the rate which disease multiplies – it reduces the activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which can otherwise lead you to feeling worse in less time
- Third, with inadequate sleep, you have hyper-activation of your sympathetic nervous system, increasing levels of stress hormone cortisol – an immunosuppressant
The important thing to note that not all sleep is the same. The research above reflects quality sleep: entering stage 3+4 NREM – aka deep sleep, and sleeping for 7-9 hours.
Now.. as a sleep expert, I know that herein lies the problem: you may not be able to fall or stay asleep, meaning you don’t get that deep sleep you need.
And if this is the case, here is 3 simple steps to assist you. Taken from my Signature 7 Step Bedtime Routine, each step slows the brain into a calmer brainwave pattern, allowing you to fall asleep with greater ease when you hit the pillow.
Step 1: Block out Blue Light.
Your circadian rhythm, which dictates how tired you are, is governed by one principle factor: light. Limiting the production of sleepiness hormone melatonin and promoting production of awakening hormone cortisol, light, and specifically blue light, is extremely stimulating – and therefore needs to be avoided in the evening to fall asleep easily.
Blue light comes from ceiling lights, devices and TV, so to use a red night light and wear 100% blue light blocking glasses is essential.
Note that using ‘night mode’ isn’t enough: research shows with night mode on, your sleepiness hormone melatonin is still suppressed by 19%. Without night mode, it’s suppressed by 23%. This is only a slight shift, which means even with night mode, you’re likely to find it hard to fall asleep.
Step 2: Listen to White Noise
A recent study found white noise reduced the time taken to fall asleep by 38%.
This is essentially the difference between taking 60 minutes to fall asleep or 23 minutes. Which would you prefer? 60 minutes? 23 minutes?!
Synchronising the brain into a slower brainwave pattern, after hearing white noise you subconsciously become more relaxed – without even trying.
For recommendations, look no further than my Spotify playlist – personally curated for your white noise needs.
And for the record, white noise is like a fan or air-con.
Step 3: Goodnight Phone Alarm
Clinical research shows using your phone late at night phone means
you’re 39% more likely to have light, un-refreshing sleep… but you probably didn’t need an academic paper to tell you that.
Phones are addictive – lighting up the brains reward pathway (just like drugs, caffeine and sugar), it is extremely difficult to rely on willpower alone to remove yourself from your device.
To overcome this, an alarm to remind you to stop using your phone is ideal – and make sure you label the alarm with ‘sleep better’.
By seeing the words ‘sleep better’, it reinforces the meaning behind the alarm in the first place – making you more likely to pay attention, follow through and ultimately, get off your phone.
Want the rest of the Signature 7 Step Bedtime Routine, helping you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and boost your immunity even more? Sure – just connect with me on instagram and send me your email via a DM: I’ll share my Signature 7 Step Bedtime Routine videos, just to say thank you.