A good night’s sleep vital to fighting off virus

Sleep is vital to maintaining good health. (Photo: Flickr/Alyssa L Miller)

Getting a good night’s sleep is proving difficult for many at the moment, with the stresses of COVID-19 taking their nightly toll – but it could be more important to our health than ever.

According to the Mayo Clinic studies show people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus.

The clinic’s doctor Eric J Olsen said the optimal amount of sleep for good health was seven to eight hours per night.

“Your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases,” he said.

“Lack of sleep can affect your immune system … [and] can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”

But it appears most people don’t seem to be aware of the benefits of sleep to help build their immune system.

Mansour Shukoor, 23, of Western Sydney, said he gets eight or nine hours sleep each night but was unaware of its relationship to his immunity.

“I didn’t know good sleep was linked to immunity,” he said.

“I knew it was related to lower cholesterol, heart health, things like that.”

[I’m sleeping] way less now. [I’m thinking of] a million other things – job, money, where the world is going to be tomorrow.

Matt Gordon, 22, of Wolli Creek, is a shift worker who recently lost his job at Sydney airport.

“Sometimes I sleep four hours, sometimes six. I’m lucky if I get eight,” he said.

“[I’m sleeping] way less now. [I’m thinking of] a million other things – job, money, where the world is going to be tomorrow.

“I didn’t know [sleep] affects my immune system.”

Liam Gilleland, 18, of Blacktown, said he gets eight to nine hours each night and has good health.

“I don’t get sick often. I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to the doctors, so that’s a positive,” he said.

Liam prefers to sleep with grey noise in the background. Last night he fell asleep listening to Andre Rieu’s ABBA album.

“It was better than listening to the thoughts in my head, that are all over the place at the moment.”