How Watching Too Much TV Really Affects Your Health

There’s really nothing like an unfettered Netflix binge when you need to unwind, and doing this once in a while is probably more cathartic than harmful. But what happens to your body when most of your days entail answering “yes” to the dreaded pop-up question “Are you still watching?” 

Experts classify binge-watching as watching more than three hours of TV in a single sitting (via Everyday Health). And if you’re from the United States, you’re more likely than almost anyone else to be guilty of doing this. In fact, a third of Americans between 18 and 35 years old do this regularly, and Netflix metrics show that Americans tend to finish an entire television series in less than a week.

Studies have shown that there are different types of binge watchers, ranging from occasional to habitual, meaning that while some will only engage in three or more hours of TV watching once in a while, others do it regularly. As you might expect, like most things that are better in moderation, it is those who are classified as “habitual bingers” that tend to suffer the most consequences.

How too much TV hurts your body

The first way bingeing TV can be harmful is due to the sedentary nature of the activity. For the most part, while we are viewing hours of TV, we are sitting on our couches or lounging in bed. Further, we are less engaged mentally and physically while lounging and consuming entertainment than we are while sitting at a desk, working. This is the difference between active and non-active sitting.

Non-active sitting, which is what most of us do while watching TV, has been linked to 25 percent higher body mass index (BMI) and also higher body fat in young adults. It even contributes to the occurrence of metabolic syndrome according to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Another issue that crops up with TV bingeing is that while we watch, we often snack, and not always on healthy foods. We are all guilty of having vegged out watching TV with a bag of chips in our lap.

The issue is, if we eat chips while paying attention to what we are eating, we are likely to eat less of them. However, when we eat while watching TV, it is usually “distraction eating,” which means we aren’t paying attention to our actual level of hunger or the portions we are consuming. So, we just keep eating. Distraction eating is directly associated with consuming more food and being overweight, per the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Need to sleep? Shut off the TV

Watching TV right before bed can actually have a negative impact on both quantity and quality of your sleep (via Reverie). Once again, Americans are the worst about this; a whopping 90 percent of us admit to watching something on a screen in the hour before bed. Interestingly, 60 percent of us also report some type of sleep issue. Are the two related? Maybe.

Our bodies and brains just weren’t built for this screen-related behavior. All screens are backlit, and so when we engage with them in the hour before bed, we confuse our brains into thinking it’s daytime. Studies have shown that looking at screens in the hour before bed reduces the secretion of the hormone melatonin by over 20 percent (via Applied Ergonomics). Melatonin is the hormone that helps to make us sleepy. Also, watching TV engages our minds in a way that makes us want to stay up and watch the rest of the episode or just one more. In this way, watching TV before bed encourages us to stay up later than we otherwise might (via Health).

Further, according to Buffer, doing anything in bed other than winding down to sleep (like doing work, answering texts, eating, or watching TV) over time sends the message to our minds and bodies that bed isn’t necessarily for sleep, and so we might find it harder to fall asleep than if we automatically associate crawling into bed with dozing off by reserving our bedrooms for that purpose.

Too much TV can affect your mental health, too

And let’s not forget our mental health. According to Everyday Health, binge-watching TV can become a substitute for social interaction and can lead to social isolation. This can happen in a cycle; people who are stuck inside may turn to the TV for company and entertainment, and at first it helps to alleviate the loneliness. But eventually, the desire to actually interact meaningfully with other actual people can decrease, because they start to feel that the TV is sufficient company and that their needs are being met. 

This also relates to another mental health issue that can come of too much TV bingeing: addiction. In the same way that some people can experience potentially addicting things but only use them occasionally (like alcohol, gambling, etc.) while others become dependent, habitual TV bingers can become addicted to the behavior. The pleasure centers of the brain are stimulated in a way that is calming and joy-inducing when we watch a show we enjoy. While most of us can enjoy that feeling and then go about the rest of our lives, others become dependent on TV to help them feel happy and relaxed, and this addiction can interfere with their ability to live a normal and healthy life. 

So, at the end of the day, no one is telling you to give up your favorite shows! We are just reminding you that like all good things, moderation is key to enjoying all the wonders Netflix has to offer without damaging your health or well-being.

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How Not Having Enough Social Interaction Really Affects Your Health

Humans are kind of like rabbits — social creatures with individual personalities (via the House Rabbit Society). And, like bunnies, humans require social interaction. In fact, according to the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, humans “crave” interaction. “People who are forced to be isolated crave social interactions similarly to the way a hungry person craves food,” says MIT professor Rebecca Saxe. “Our finding fits the intuitive idea that positive social interactions are a basic human need, and acute loneliness is an aversive state that motivates people to repair what is lacking, similar to hunger.”

So, what does this mean? Social relationships have a behavioral, psychosocial, and physiological influence on our health. According to the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, social isolation can result in “psychological and physical disintegration,” and sometimes death. Research also suggests that individuals who are more socially connected and have “satisfying relationships with family and friends” live longer and healthier lives (via Harvard Health Publishing).

Staying connected during a global pandemic

If you’re too uncomfortable to experience indoor dining pandemic-style, there are other ways to connect with your friends. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recommend calling your friends and family members in lieu of email or text. Why? Because, unlike typed communication, voice communication offers immediate answers and allows for emotional cues (i.e., tone of voice, inflection, and speed of speech).

“Over email, the message that’s received may not be the same as the message that’s sent,” Guhan Subramanian, the director of the Harvard Program on Negotiation explained to The Atlantic. This is because text-based messaging (IM, email, SMS, etc.) is missing the “back-and-forth contextualization” and tone that you’d receive via a spoken conversation.

Another way to boost your social connection in a positive way is to get active. According to a team of researchers at the University of Basel, well-being can be enhanced via movement — especially if you’re with a group of friends.

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Do you ‘wolf down’ your food? Speedy eaters may pack on more pounds

Do you 'Wolf down' your food? speedy eaters may pack on more pounds

(HealthDay)—Are you the type to linger over a meal, or do you tend to eat quickly without giving it much thought?

New research confirms that you’re better off going the slow route, because fast eaters tend to consume more and be more vulnerable to gaining weight and becoming obese. And it uncovers a new wrinkle: If you grew up with siblings, where you probably had to compete for whatever was on the table, you’re more likely to be a fast eater.

Speedy eating makes you prone to eating more because it takes a bit of time for your body to recognize that you’re starting to feel full, explained Connie Diekman, a St. Louis-based registered dietitian and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“We don’t recognize that feeling of fullness immediately because the body is programmed to sensing, ‘I need to eat, I ate enough, stop eating,'” Diekman said. “If we don’t allow that to happen because we’re eating too quickly, we tend to end up overeating.”

Fast eaters may learn the habit when they are children, so researchers from the University of Roehampton and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom sought to determine if having siblings may play a role in influencing one’s eating speed.

Though the findings, published online recently in the journal Clinical Obesity, were somewhat confusing, they did show that children with siblings were more likely to have a faster eating rate.

There are a couple of reasons why the presence or absence of siblings may influence one’s eating rate, according to study co-author Leigh Gibson, a researcher in the department of psychology at the University of Roehampton in London.

The sibling-fast eating connection “might be due to competition for food at meals, whether real or imagined, or even a wish to finish a meal more quickly to return to playing with siblings,” Gibson said. “Alternatively, the presence of siblings at a meal could distract from a focus on eating, which could lead to a faster eating rate.”

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t seem to be too much cause for concern, as prior studies have found that people without siblings seem more vulnerable to obesity than people with siblings.

“It would seem that sibling-induced faster eating is unlikely to promote long-term overeating, given other evidence that only-children are more at risk from becoming overweight or obese than those with siblings,” Gibson said. “On balance, eating faster may be a risk for weight gain and obesity, but sibling influence is probably not a mediating factor. Perhaps the ‘sibling effect’ doesn’t directly result in bigger meals, just meals eaten more quickly.”

Diekman, who was not involved in the new research, noted that the study concludes that more research needs to be done on the link. The takeaway is not: “If you have a lot of children, watch how your children eat because it may impact them and they may eat too quickly,” Diekman said. “I’m not sure we are there yet.”

To come to the findings, Gibson and his colleagues conducted two studies. The first study involved over 100 children between the ages of 5 and 11, and compared the children’s eating rate (as reported by their parents) to their body mass index, the number of siblings they had and where they were in the birth order of their family. The second study looked at over 800 adults and children and collected similar information, but the eating rate in this study was self-reported.

Interestingly, even adults who grew up with siblings seemed to continue the habit of fast-eating into adulthood, suggesting that it is a behavior that persists.

“There’s a lot of conversation that says society does this to adults—drive-through food, eating quickly at work because you’ve got to get back to your desk, all of these things,” Diekman said. This study might make people reflect more on the 15-minute lunches that some kids get at school because it “might be setting them up for a habit of eating quickly,” she noted.

Diekman added that she often counsels patients trying to slow down their eating speed as a part of their weight-loss goals. She said that the key is to pay attention to the food you’re eating.

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If You’re Worried About Your Child’s Well-Being, Add These Supplements In Their Diet to Boost Their Immunity

As a parent, nothing is more important than your child’s health and well-being. From the time that they’re babies and well after they’ve grown into self-functioning, self-sufficient adults, parents continue to worry about their child’s health.

Consider it a blessing in disguise or light at the end of the tunnel- due to COVID-19, we’ve all been granted a rare opportunity to spend a lot more time with our entire family. Of course, while maintaining social distancing practices. Plus, with the virus outbreak, parents have become even more invested in their child’s health than they were before.

During these times, it is absolutely vital to ensure that your child’s immune system is in perfect shape. To that measure, we’ve taken the liberty of listing some of the best supplements that can help in boosting your child’s immunity, and the best foods you can give them at this time.

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C? More like the superstar of all the vitamins. It is impossible to overstate the role that this vitamin plays in your child’s well-being. The antioxidant is responsible for many vital functions of the body, including the formation of blood vessels, collagen, and muscle. It is also instrumental in the absorption of iron. Vitamin C is commonly found in berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and red bell peppers.

2. Zinc

You must have guessed this would be on the list, too. Zinc plays a major role in the development and growth of your child. In fact, it is one of the most vital supplements that your brain needs for its proper growth and development. Zinc also plays an important role in ensuring that your child’s immune system functions properly. The supplement can be found in foods like nuts, legumes, shellfish, seeds, and whole grains.

3. Vitamin D

Also known as the sunshine vitamin due to its biggest source, Vitamin D does magical wonders for your child’s immunity. It helps your child boost their body’s ability to fight off infections. It also ensures that your child can build stronger bones.

So, a little extra playtime under the sun might not be so bad after all. Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods like fish oil or salmon. If your child is unable to get enough Vitamin D through these sources, you can always opt for gummy supplements. Make sure you consult a doctor before doing so.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is absolutely essential for protecting your child’s vision. Apart from that, it also plays a significant role in boosting immunity. It can be foods in many foods, including carrots, sweet potato, cantaloupe, mango, and spinach.

5. Echinacea

If you’re having a hard time pronouncing that, don’t sweat it. Just repeat after us: eh-kuh-nay-shuh. Not so hard anymore, right? If you’re still looking for a simpler word, just go with purple coneflower. This little flower is packed with antioxidants, which will help your child’s body while battling different virals and infections. You can give this to your child in the form of gummies, syrup, or powder.

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How Not Working Enough Can Really Affect Your Health

Most people dream of early retirement, but surprising research has shown that shortening your career could be detrimental to your health. A study published in MedPage Today found that early retirement brings a higher risk of mortality, especially for people younger than 60 or male. Another study found that retirees with health problems lived longer when they postponed their planned retirement, according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Why? The reasons vary, but largely revolve around mental health and an increased risk of suicide. Working more hours and for additional years keeps people connected socially, helps them stay physically active, and offers a creative outlet or a challenge. “Social reinforcement is every bit as powerful as money,” wrote Dr. Nigel Barber for Psychology Today. “Adulation, praise, or affection, are as potent as any drug in motivating people to work hard.”

In other words, there’s a strong chance you would miss working for the social connections as much as, if not more than, for the money.

Unemployment increases risk of suicide

The National Library of Medicine found that unemployment creates a higher risk factor for suicide, especially among women, who were three times more likely to commit suicide than their employed counterparts. That risk increases with age. According to the CDC, older Americans are also at higher risk for suicide due to loneliness and isolation.

Working less hours could also lead to boredom, which can also negatively impact your health. A report in Patient says that boredom can lead to overeating and obesity, and lack of engagement can affect your breathing, making it shallower, triggering panic attacks, and aggravating respiratory problems. Obesity can lead to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and gallbladder disease, according to the CDC.

If you’re tempted to work more hours now, think again. Working too much can also have a negative affect on your health, leading to higher risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and abnormal heart rhythms, reports WebMD. The key is finding a healthy balance between work, family, and down time.

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How You Should Really Be Cleaning Your Toothbrush

Do you run your toothbrush under hot water every once in a while as a way to sanitize it? If you have, you likely know that it’s important to keep your toothbrush clean, but you might not know the best way to do it. Every time you use your brush, you slough off plaque, bacteria, and other microorganisms — it’s wise to have a hygienic routine for this utensil.

For people who have used the hot water trick, this may be a worthwhile method. Healthline explains that you can sanitize the brush by running it underneath the water both before and after use. Make sure that the water is as hot as possible — the outlet suggests ensuring that the water temperature generates steam to effectively rid your brush of germs. This can help burn off any clung-on bacteria, which is especially important since germs from your toilet can even make their way onto your bristles, Insider notes. Apparently, the moving water sends bacteria into the air which can settle directly on your toothbrush. Make sure to keep your brush far from the toilet and sanitize it often to counteract this effect. 

The way that you store your brush also can make or break its cleanliness. It should always stand in an upright position after use because air kills off most of the bacteria present on the bristles. Rather than tossing your brush in a drawer, find a holder that keeps your brush separated from anyone else’s in your household and allows it to stay vertical.

You can use hydrogen peroxide to clean your toothbrush

If you’re looking for a cleaning agent, you can likely find a viable option in your medicine cabinet. Insider suggests using hydrogen peroxide to do the dirty work by killing off germs and microorganisms — especially if your toothbrush needs a deep clean. You can also use a mouthwash that contains alcohol for a powerful rinse that will sweep any lingering particles out from the bristles.

The outlet even cites a study finding that toothbrushes soaked in 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or an alcohol-based mouthwash came out 100 percent germ-free. Simply pour enough of the liquid into a cup and soak the head of your brush for 15 minutes. Rinse with hot water and enjoy your squeaky clean bristles.

Tools that clean your brush for you are also on the market, and they usually use UV rays to do the work. Healthline explains that this technology is extremely effective in sanitizing your toothbrush — you can find an apparatus online. They do carry a hefty price tag so make sure that you’re ready to use it often to get the most out of it. 

Of course, replacing your toothbrush every three-four months is the best way to keep it free from bacteria. If you notice the bristles fanning out or just a lower quality of clean, it’s best to pick up a new one.

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What To Expect In Between Your COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

With the country on track to distributing 200 million doses of vaccine (via U.S. News & World Report), it’s easy to forget that the COVID-19 shots were actually approved for emergency use, and because of this, there are still a number of things scientists don’t know about them.

Doctors are clear about the fact that once you are vaccinated, you cut the chance of getting very sick with COVID-19. But what scientists are unsure of is whether the vaccine keeps you from getting those around you ill, particularly if you happen to be carrying it asymptomatically (via CNBC). Because of this, medical practitioners are warning those of us who have been vaccinated against letting our guard down — particularly since we can see the end of this public health crisis.

Most of the vaccines found in America today are mRNA shots which require two doses. This type of vaccine contains bits of the coronavirus that cause COVID, along with instructions for our cells on how to protect itself from the virus. It is expected that once our cells receive these instructions, they will remember how to fight the virus in the future. And while you get some level of protection after the first shot, you are not considered to be fully vaccinated until two weeks after you get the second shot (via the CDC).

Don't abandon mask wearing and social distancing after the first shot

Because of this uncertainty, the CDC warns that now would not be the time to abandon any of the measures you used to keep yourself safe from the coronavirus. This means you still need to keep wearing a mask, you still need to wash your hands, and you still need to practice social distancing (via CDC). As Dr. Kavita Patel, a former health official with the Obama administration who is fully vaccinated put it bluntly, “I’m still doing all those things we’ve been talking about — that we are pretty fatigued from doing — [but] until we have more data that I can’t give [the virus] to somebody who has not been vaccinated” (via CNBC). 

This is particularly important since, after your first shot, your body is still at an in-between period. And even though the first shot might have felt like hell, it’s important to go back for the second shot because, as Dr. Carlos Malvestutto of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center explained, “The first dose primes the immune system while the second dose induces a vigorous immune response and production of antibodies.”

CDC Director Walensky: We do not have the luxury of inaction

“We are still learning if those who have been vaccinated may still pose a risk for transmission,” Dr. Brian Castrucci, of the non-profit de Beaumont Foundation, recently told Health Digest. “So if you are around folks who are older or chronically ill who have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart.”

It’s important to remember that while there is light at the end of the tunnel, by no means are any of us out of the woods yet. After weeks of seeing a steady decline in the number of coronavirus cases, the drop plateaued, and it is now being followed by the increase in the case numbers that public health experts had been warning us about (via The New York Times). CDC Director Rochelle Walensky did not mince words when she explained what that slight increase could mean. “When we see that uptick in cases, what we have seen before is that things really have a tendency to surge, and surge big,” she said (via The Hill).

“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I’m scared. We do not have the luxury of inaction,” she stressed.

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Get the COVID vaccine that’s available to you—and don’t forget your flu shot

Yes, COVID vaccines are front and centre. But don't forget about your flu shot

As the nights begin to close in and the temperatures cool, it’s clear winter is approaching again.

With the winter season comes the risk of the usual winter lurgies, most of which result from respiratory infections. Some of the usual suspects include rhinoviruses (the common cold), RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and influenza.

This year, of course, we’re also contending with the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) could escape from its quarantine status and circulate alongside these other viruses.

We don’t know yet how the winter season will play out in terms of respiratory viruses. But one important way we can prepare for it is by getting a flu vaccine.

What will winter bring?

In 2020 there was a paucity of seasonal winter viruses. Only rhinoviruses circulated widely, while the others were either vastly reduced (for example, we saw a very minimal flu season) or very delayed (RSV circulated later than usual in some states until spring or even summer).

So what’s going to happen in 2021? Will it be similar to 2020, or will it be like 2019, which saw very high levels of influenza? Or perhaps something completely different?

We simply don’t know for sure. With COVID-related restrictions having eased in all Australian states and territories—albeit to varying degrees—people are free to move around, come together in crowds, and attend schools, universities and offices.

These activities promote the transmission of respiratory viruses, which explains why we saw such different trends in the usual winter lurgies last year, when we were mixing much less.

But the virus circulation needs to start from somewhere. While some viruses are happy to circulate domestically, like rhinoviruses and adenoviruses, others, like influenza, are largely transported into the country each year. So it’s possible that if Australia’s international borders remain closed through winter, we may again have a less serious flu season in 2021.

On the other hand, if borders are opened and the flu does take hold, people might have reduced immunity to the viruses given the missed season last year, and be more susceptible.

A vaccine is your best bet

In the face of this uncertainty, the usual adage prevails: “prevention is better than cure.” The best measure we can take is to get our influenza vaccine.

The flu vaccines available in Australia in 2021 under the National Immunization Program are:

  • for children aged six months to five years—Vaxigrip Tetra (Sanofi) and Fluarix Tetra (GSK)
  • for children and adults aged five to 64 years—Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra and Afluria Quad (Seqirus)
  • for adults aged 65 and over—Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra, Afluria Quad and Fluad Quad (Seqirus).

The Fluad Quad vaccine, which is slightly different and more potent than the others, is the preferred vaccine for the over-65 age group. It contains a component called an adjuvant, which helps boost the immune response in elderly people.

This season’s flu vaccines are made up of four different viruses—two influenza A types and two influenza B types. The 2021 vaccines have two changes (both in the influenza A types) from the 2020 influenza vaccines.

It’s very hard to predict in advance which strains will circulate, but the World Health Organization provides guidance on this every year, and recommends which components of the vaccine should be updated accordingly.

All the influenza vaccines used in Australia are inactivated virus vaccines, meaning the virus contained in the vaccine doesn’t replicate, so you can’t get the flu from the vaccination.

In addition to the flu vaccines under the National Immunization Program, a new vaccine called Flucelvax Quad (Seqirus) is available through retail outlets, like pharmacies, for people aged nine years and older.

This vaccine is the first influenza vaccine available in Australia which has been produced entirely in cell culture, rather than chickens eggs. This new vaccine may have some benefits over the traditional egg-based vaccines for certain people, for example those with severe egg allergies.

How effective are flu vaccines?

Flu vaccines are only moderately effective at preventing infection with influenza. On average, they offer around 60% protection across the population, although rates can often be higher in children.

While this is lower than we’d like, it’s the best measure we currently have to protect us from influenza infections. There’s also evidence it reduces the more severe consequences of being infected, such as being hospitalized or dying.

Scientists are continuing to work on new flu vaccines that may offer greater protection.

The practicalities

This year’s vaccines are already becoming available through pharmacies and some GP clinics, and will be available under the National Immunization Program from GPs and other providers, such as workplace immunization programs, in April.

The flu season generally starts in earnest around June, so it’s reasonable to get your vaccine any time between now and then.

Under the National Immunization Program, some groups are eligible to receive the influenza vaccine for free. These include:

  • adults 65 and older
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians six months and older
  • children aged six months to five years
  • pregnant women
  • people with certain medical conditions.

For people who don’t fall into these groups, the vaccine costs as little as A$14.99.

Influenza vaccines are being rolled out this year alongside the COVID-19 vaccines. With both programs operating at the same time, there may be some confusion and logistical challenges.

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Feeling rundown? It could raise your odds for severe COVID

Feeling rundown?  it could raise your odds for severe COVID

Groggy during the day? Feeling burned out at work? That could put you at increased risk for COVID-19 and more severe illness, a new study suggests.

“We found that lack of sleep at night, severe sleep problems and high level of burnout may be risk factors for COVID-19” for frontline health care workers, according to a team led by Dr. Sara Seidelmann, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Stamford Hospital, Conn.

One expert who wasn’t connected to the research said the findings made sense.

“This study reconfirms several items that have been suspected about the relationship of sleep, stress and infectious diseases,” said Dr. Thomas Kilkenny, who directs sleep medicine at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. “The researchers demonstrate, in a very comprehensive way, that both sleep deprivation through lack of sleep increases both the risk of developing COVID 19 but also the duration of the illness.”

Prior research has found that poor sleep and job burnout are linked with a greater risk for a variety of viral and bacterial infections, so the authors of this new study wanted to find out if they’re also risk factors for COVID-19.

In this latest study, published March 22 in the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health, they analyzed the responses of nearly 2,900 health care workers in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain. All had participated in an online survey from July 17 to Sept. 25, 2020. Of those health care workers, 568 reported having gotten infected with the new coronavirus.

The health care workers averaged between 6 and 7 hours of sleep a night.

The study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, but after the researchers accounted for other factors, they concluded that every extra hour of sleep at night was associated with a 12% lower risk of the worker getting COVID-19.

However, when that extra hour of shuteye took place was crucial. An extra hour of sleep via daytime napping was associated with a 6% higher risk of getting COVID-19, the team noted in a journal news release.

According to Kilkenny, that shows that “staffers that needed to take naps during the day—a surrogate for lack of sleep—were also at an increased risk for the disease.”

About 1 in 4 (24%) of the people who went on to contract COVID-19 had already reported long-term difficulties sleeping at night, compared with about 1 in every 5 (21%) of those who hadn’t gotten the illness.

Seidelmann’s group also found that 5% of those with COVID-19 had three or more sleep problems—including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or needing to use sleeping pills on three or more nights of the week—compared with 3% of those without COVID-19.

People with those three sleep problems were 88% more likely to develop COVID-19 than those with no sleep problems, the study found.

Another finding was that 5.5% of those with COVID-19 reported daily work burnout, compared with 3% of those without COVID-19. Compared to those with no burnout, those with daily burnout had twice the risk of getting COVID-19, and they were about 3 times more likely to have severe COVID-19 and to take longer to recover.

Dr. Harly Greenberg is chief of pulmonary, critical care and sleep Medicine at Northwell Health, in Great Neck, N.Y. He wasn’t involved in the research, but said it “adds to the mounting literature that sleep is much more than simply withdrawing from the environment; rather it is an essential and active biological process that restores brain function including memory, mood, cognition and resiliency to stress.”

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