The coronavirus has affected many aspects of life but sleep is among those that are most concerning, according to the chairman of Turkey Respiratory Research Association (TUSAD).  

Dr. Oguz Kokturk told Anadolu Agency that sleeping and waking up late have caused sleep-wake rhythm disorders that is currently seen more often in the current state of home isolation.

“This situation has two consequences in individuals: insomnia or excessive sleepiness. Both of them cause functional losses,” Kokturk said.

He said on his list of things that contribute to a strengthened immune system are a good, balanced diet, exercise and sleep, with regular sleep at the top.

Kokturk stressed the importance of the circadian rhythm and said the sleep-wake cycle is compatible with day and night time.

“Melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for the regulation of circadian rhythms in our body, perhaps the most important one reaches its highest level between 02.00-04.00 after midnight.

“Any disruptions in sleep discipline will lead to a disruption of melatonin secretion, which will bring along many sleep problems,” Kokturk said.

He said maintaining the circadian rhythm of our bodies will prepare the ground for keeping our immune systems strong and that will prevent many diseases.

And anxiety, that is a common condition during the coronavirus pandemic, causes restless sleep that in turn brings on sleep deprivation and similarly leads to a disruption of the circadian rhythm.

– Obesity risk factor of obstructive sleep apnea

Kokturk says obesity is one of the most important risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea that is ranked top among sleep respiratory disorders.

“Obesity increases the tendency of sleep apnea by narrowing the upper respiratory tract opening and affects the abdominal fat accumulation and respiratory pattern.

“Therefore, patients with sleep-disordered breathing are likely to be adversely affected by the pandemic process,” he said.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit

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