KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Having a sound sleep is the best way to reduce a person’s risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, and not medical masks and hand sanitisers, an expert said.
Sunway Medical Centre Velocity respiratory specialist and general physician Dr Nurul Yaqeen Mohd Esa said a strong immune system is what will truly fight off Covid-19, which adequate sleep can bring about.
On the contrary, a lack of sleep will make a person’s immune system weak, the private hospital quoted her as saying in a statement today, nor is there a known cure or vaccine for the coronavirus.
“Many doctors and health care providers in China have died because of the infection, partly because they were overworked and were lacking sleep,” she noted.
But what is clear from research, she said, is that enough sleep better prepares the human body to fight the strains of any virus — so why not emphasise sleeping as a priority?
Dr Nurul Yaqeen said studies have shown that 30 to 40 per cent of adults do not get enough sleep, or have knowledge on how much sleep they should be getting. At least seven hours is needed for an adult to be in good health.
They should also establish a regular sleep schedule, refrain from smoking, exercise routinely, and maintain a healthy weight, all of which could offer additional immune system benefits and enhance the quality of one’s sleep.
Bedrooms, on the other hand, shouldn’t be too hot or cold so a person doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, she added, nor should caffeinated beverages or hot chocolate be consumed in the late afternoon or evening — it will delay your sleep.
Besides that, everyone should eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and fibres, which can boost your immune system, and if a person drinks alcohol, do so in moderation; excessive alcohol consumption is linked to immune-related health effects.
“Use caution when taking over-the-counter medications to treat cold or flu symptoms,” Dr Nurul recommended. “Some of these products contain ingredients that can cause sleeplessness at night or sleepiness during the day.”
And don’t forget — avoid looking at your smartphone, computer, or television screens at least two hours before bedtime. The blue light from the screens will delay your ability to sleep on time, she said.
“If you have trouble sleeping for more than a few weeks, or if sleep problems interfere with daily performance, speak to your doctor. Safe, effective prescription sleep medications are available to treat insomnia,” she added.
But Dr Nurul Yaqeen did not snub medical masks and hand sanitisers all together though. She said everyone should always wash their hands with an alcohol-based rub, or soap and water, as this kills the virus if it is on your hands.
Meanwhile, Sunway Medical Centre Velocity said it has taken precautionary measures to ensure the hospital is a safe environment for all patients, visitors, doctors, and health care employees.
It conducts thorough cleaning for the entire hospital frequently to ensure a safe environment, and all existing patients are monitored constantly to ensure prompt recognition and identification of suspected cases, if any.
Patients who show up at the hospital with fever or signs of pneumonia or respiratory infections, or have a history of traveling to China within the last 14 days or had close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, are referred to the nearest government hospital.
“We understand that the spread of such viruses is a call for concern among the public,” said the hospital’s chief executive officer, Choo Voon Chee.
“However, we want to assure all Malaysians that we are practicing the highest standards of safety to ensure our hospital is safe for visitation and patronage, and that the utmost quality of care is provided for all in the building.”
The hospital team also constantly shares accurate and reliable sources of information to debunk myths and fake news surrounding Covid-19 on its social media platforms, he said.