Sleep quality and duration continues to pose challenges in Westernized societies. Such is largely influenced by shift work, sleep disorders (sleep apnea, insomnia), and poor sleep hygiene (i.e., inconsistent sleep times, sub-optimal bedroom temperatures, blue light from electronic devices).1

Left unchecked, inadequate and inconsistent sleep quality and duration can drive inflammatory events, increase oxidation, impair health, and increase vulnerability to infection.1(199) Considering the intimate relationship between adequate rest and health, the following will explore the same in greater detail as well as its relationship to immunity and COVID-19.


A generally understood sleep duration period would include 7-9 hours of sleep per night. However, the general public has experienced a 2-3 hour reduction in sleep duration in recent decades.1(200) Consequentially, insufficient sleep has lead to decreased cognitive/physical performance, reduced alertness, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and stroke.1(200)

It is also well understood that sleep regulates cells of the innate immune system to include dendritic cells, macrophages, and monocytes (i.e., “first responders” to pathogens).1(201) However, sleep deprivation can reduce interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion; a molecule which engages/notifies other components of the immune system to an emergent event (i.e., the presence of a pathogen).1(201),2 Sleep deprivation also lowers interleukin-2 (IL-2); a signaling molecule which regulates T-cells (adaptive immune system) by either increasing or decreasing their activity.3 Ultimately, the number and distribution of T cells become altered to include CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+.1(201) As an aggregate, suboptimal sleep quality and duration erodes immune system function, and likely one’s ability to manage and resolve COVID-19.1(204)


Considering the generally understood virulence (severity of disease) and infectivity (degree of spread from an infected host) of SARS-CoV-2 virions, it would be both logical and prudent to optimize the innate and adaptive immune systems which target, neutralize, and destroy said virus. The following links will provide several methods, both cheap and effective, for supporting sleep hygiene, immunity, and overall health:

Improving Sleep Quality and Duration (Part 1)

Improving Sleep Quality and Duration (Part 2)

Sleep Duration and Health

Sleep, Nutrition, and Immune System Strength

Poor Sleep and Insulin Resistance

Sleep Quality, Sleep Hygiene, and Insulin Resistance

Cannabis and Sleep

Improving Sleep Quality and Duration with CBD/THC Oil

Insomnia/Anxiety/Depression and Botanical Support

Ashwagandha and Sleep


Inadequate and inconsistent sleep quality and duration have been linked to several unfavorable health outcomes to include decreased cognitive/physical performance, reduced alertness, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and compromised immune system function. Considering the severity of such maladaptive changes, it is incumbent that we view and implement sleep hygiene protocols with a higher degree of seriousness and priority. Such steps, as part of a larger and more robust set of immune support interventions, should increase one’s chances of successful recovery from COVID-19.


1. Tulio De Mello M, Silva A, Carvalho Guerriro R, et al. Sleep and COVID-19: Considerations about immunity, pathophysiology, and treatment. Sleep Sci. 2020;13(3):199-209. doi:10.5935/1984-0063.20200062.
2. Tanaka T, Narazaki M, Kishimoto T. IL-6 in inflammation, immunity, and disease. Cold Spring Hard Perspect Biol. 2014;6(10):1-16. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a016295.
3. Boyman O, Sprent J. The role of interleukin-2 during homeostasis and activation of the immune system. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012;12(3):180-190. doi:10.1038/nri3156.


-Michael McIsaac