8 Ways Sleep Combats COVID-19

April 20, 2020

By Josef Halcomb

Sleep plays a critical role in the body’s ability to restore itself. With the spread of COVID-19, quality sleep is even more crucial for keeping those in your care healthy and preventing further spread of disease.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep keeps immune systems strong

Research has shown that adequate sleep through the night keeps immune systems strong, which is key to fighting off infectious disease. During sleep, the immune system releases cytokines proteins that help regulate immunity, inflammation and healthy blood cell production.

Lack of sleep increases health risks

Research from the National Sleep Foundation has shown that prolonged periods of lack of sleep can contribute to many serious diseases or illness, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Individuals with these same diseases are also more at-risk for severe complications related to COVID-19.

Adequate sleep is also the best defense against unnecessary weight gain, managing incontinence, and staying healthy. Those who are obese are at a higher risk for complications related to COVID-19, but being overweight or obese also increases the likelihood that a person will develop incontinence issues. For those who are already incontinent, weight gain can heighten the severity of incontinence

Sleep maintains mental health

Lastly, not only does sleep help restore physical functions, but it can also aide in the betterment of mental and emotional functions. During sleep, the body regulates hormones associated with stress, which helps in the brain to function with greater clarity and serenity throughout the day. More alertness can also help prevent accidents and/or injury for those in your care.

8 Ways to Ensure Restful Sleep for Your Patients

Ensuring that patients receive a high-quality night’s sleep is no easy task. While settings vary by facility, many patients may encounter environmental sleep disruptions. As a caretaker, here’s what you can do to make sure you’re creating a peaceful environment to promote quality sleep for you patients.

  1. Help your patient designate, and stick to, a time to go to bed and wake up each day. If possible, promote a realistic bedtime and waking time to increase consistency.
  2. Create a quiet, dark environment.
  3. Avoid interruptions during the night by utilizing maximum absorbency products for those dealing with incontinence.
  4. Turn off television or any other devices emitting blue-light at least 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  5. Encourage physical activity throughout the day to promote a better night’s sleep.
  6. Eliminate unnecessary noises that can cause sleep disruptions (i.e.; creaky doors, squeaky wheels on carts, whistling window, etc.).
  7. Learn specific events that create a calming effect with your patients and try to fit them into a pre-bedtime regimen.
  8. Ensure bed sheets and blankets are neatly and comfortably placed (not twisted or creased causing discomfort).

Your Sleeping Habits Make A Difference

It is critical for patients to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep on a routine basis regardless of age, and it’s also very important for caregivers to get adequate amounts of rest as well. While it may feel like so much is out of your control during this time due to COVID-19, grant yourself some grace and focus on trying to control only what you are able control. This can start with ensuring good sleep hygiene for yourself.

For additional facts and clinical support to keep you informed during this turbulent time, click here to visit our COVID-19 resource portal