Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Viruses (e.g. COVID-19) and Sleep

I've had a long-time health trick. Whenever I have a lingering cold, virus, or bug of some sort that just won't go away, I cancel everything and plunge into what I call "malarial sleep mode", and I don't emerge until I'm absolutely 100%. I guess this is what parents of previous generations were trying to encourage when they made kids stay in bed. Of course, we'd only watch TV and play with toys and read. Nowadays, with our devices, no one sleeps, really, ever. We just mainline coffee.

Turns out we're starting to understand the connection between sleep and illness, and it's all about melatonin (note: don't just take melatonin pills, for reasons aluded to in the article). Sleep may affect how susceptible you are to COVID, how bad your symptoms get, how long they persist, and even how well the vaccine works for you. Read "The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep" in the new issue of The Atlantic.

I've tried to be diligent about sleep all along through this crisis. I've ratcheted up the priority of a full night's sleep; I won't blithely shrug it off and figure I'll catch up the next night. I've broken appointments (via email) at 3 am during insomnia periods. I've also worked on my falling-asleep skills.

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