KUALA LUMPUR: Adequate sleep is the best way to enhance and improve the immune system, and subsequently help to reduce the risk from contracting Covid-19.
Dr Nurul Yaqeen Mohd Esa, who is a respiratory specialist and general physician at Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV), said research has proven that an adult needed at least seven hours of sleep to sustain health.
On the other hand, lack of sleep will make our immune system weak, she said.
“Studies have also shown that between 30 and 40 per cent adults do not get enough sleep, nor do they have knowledge on how much sleep they should be getting.
“Many doctors and healthcare providers in China have died because of the infection, partly from overwork and lack of sleep,” she added.
Although the amount of sleep is important, Dr Nurul said other aspects of sleep also contribute to one’s health and wellbeing.
“One should pay close attention to their sleep habits. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, including during weekends.
“Exercise routinely and completing it well before bedtime may enhance the quality of your sleep and offer additional immune system benefits.
“Avoid looking at your smartphone, computer or television screens at least two hours before bedtime, since the blue light from the screens will delay your ability to sleep on the intended time,” she said, adding that people who experience trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks to an extent that it interferes with their daily performance, should discuss with their respective doctors for available treatments.
Dr Nurul said maintaining a comfortable temperature in the bedroom and observing a good diet, including avoiding caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening will improve sleeping patterns.
“If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption has been proven to be linked to adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia.
“Abstinence or moderate alcohol consumption is advisable to protect one from the Covid-19 infection.
“Adopting a good and balance diet high in fruits and vegetables can boost our immune systems since they are sources of vitamins and minerals,” she added.
Other tips shared by Dr Nurul in the wake of growing public concern over Covid-19 include maintaining a healthy lifestyle by not smoking.
Smoking, she said, harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and reduces the quality of health of among smokers in general.
“The Covid-19 virus will mainly attack our respiratory tract and lungs. Being a smoker will further weaken the lungs, hence, increasing the risk of getting severed Covid-19 infection,” she said.
She also cautioned the people when taking over-the-counter medications to treat cold or flu symptoms, since some of these products contain ingredients that can cause sleeplessness at night or sleepiness during the day.
“Proper hand and overall hygiene is important as well. Medical masks may seem like the most common response to preventing respiratory disease, but always remember to wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based rub or soap and water – this kills the virus if it is on your hands. If you have any symptoms, seek help at your nearest clinic or hospital.”