An Australian brain and sleep monitoring expert has revealed how a good night's sleep can help boost your immunity as the coronavirus outbreak sweeps across the globe.
Dr David Burton, who is the CEO and executive chairman of Compumedics Limited, has shared the reasons why sleep is important and said that a good routine, is key to combating illness ahead of World Sleep Day on March 13.
'Sleep, nutrition and exercise are known as the three pillars of health, and in order to maintain optimum physical and mental wellness, we need all three [of the] pillars to be fortified,' he explained.
According to a report by the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep deprivation is a problem for many Australians with 7.4 million adults saying they don't get enough rest.
The problems when struggling with sleeplessness are poor concentration, lacklustre skin, being more susceptible to illness and mood swings.
If individuals don't have enough sleep, they are also at greater risk of 'cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, stroke, heart attack and arrhythmias', according to the Australasian Epidemiological Association.
'The prevalence of obesity and diabetes in increased, there is a greater risk of dementia and more rapid progression of the disease; and the prevalence of some cancers may be increased.'
Dr Burton revealed that during sleep, the brain moves through a five-stage cycle, which is important for the body and mind to recover and recharge.
It begins with a process called non-REM (NREM) that slows brain waves down before one enters into a deep sleep as the body rests and both immune health and energy levels are recharged.
Individuals then move into REM phase of sleep, where the brains became more active, memories are processed and dreams are created.
'If we lack adequate NREM and REM, our physical, mental and emotional health is compromised as our brain, muscles, nerves, neurons and complex internal systems, including our immune system, are slow to respond and unable to function or perform well,' Dr Burton said.
During sleep the body releases small inflammation and infection-fighting proteins called cytokines.
Why sleep is crucial to your wellbeing
While you are sleeping, your brain goes through a five-stage cycle, to recover and recharge your mind and body.
If you are sleep deprived, the connections formed while we are sleeping are not able to fully develop and strengthen our bodies to be able to effectively fight off illness.
Dr Burton said that this can lead to difficulties in learning memory, perception, maintaining focus and motivation, and coping with stressors.
Dr Burton explained: 'When we are sleep deprived, the neural connections used to form and consolidate memories throughout the sleep cycle, particularly during REM, are not able to fully develop and strengthen.'
This can lead to difficulties in learning memory, perception, maintaining focus and motivation, and coping with stressors.
In order for the body to be able to effectively fight off illness, it's important to go through this sleep cycle a number of times.
According to Better Health, primary school children and teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep a night while adults need about eight.
How to get a good night's sleep:
1. Develop a bedtime routine that includes 30 minutes of screen-free time before bed
2. Minimise night-time disruptions such as light and noise. Darken the room, turn off your phone, and keep the bedroom environment conducive for sleeping with a comfortable temperature and minimal sound disturbance.
3. Avoid drinking alcohol before sleep as it can affect the time it takes to enter that important REM stage of sleep
4. Ideally, adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep
5. If you are unsure and think you may have a medical condition or serious sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, speak to your doctor in order to get a correct diagnosis, treatment and support