Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

A full night’s sleep could be the best defense against COVID-19

Sleep is critical for maintaining physical, cognitive and immunological dominance on and off the battlefield. Leaders must prioritize sleep as a valuable asset in maintaining readiness and resilience, especially in the context of multi-domain operations and increased health risks worldwide – including those risks associated with exposure to infectious diseases (U.S. Army photo by Robert Timmons) Sleep is critical for maintaining physical, cognitive and immunological dominance on and off the battlefield. Leaders must prioritize sleep as a valuable asset in maintaining readiness and resilience, especially in the context of multi-domain operations and increased health risks worldwide – including those risks associated with exposure to infectious diseases (U.S. Army photo by Robert Timmons)

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness

Amidst growing concern about COVID-19 infection, health officials have provided several recommendations to help individuals protect themselves and their families from infection, including washing hands regularly and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Fortunately, a growing body of evidence suggests that an additional lifestyle modification could also dramatically improve your odds of avoiding infection – getting more sleep.

It has long been known that sleep is important for military performance.  The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research has conducted sleep studies since the 1950s, showing that sleep loss negatively affects emotional regulation, judgment, cognitive performance, learning and memory, psychological resilience and reaction time – each of which could be critical for success in multi-domain operational environments—and almost all other environments as well, from the athletic field to the classroom to the boardroom. This is why elite athletes make sure they obtain 8-10 hours of sleep per night: to acquire that extra “edge” that can make the difference between success and failure.

In addition, and of particular relevance given current concerns about the spread of COVID-19, recent evidence suggests that sleep is also important for healthy immune function and the ability to fight off infection.  "From a Soldier lethality perspective, we often state 'sleep is ammunition for the brain', as sleep is critical for decision making, vigilance and reaction time. When it comes to fighting the common cold and flu, sleep is your internal body armor that helps you fight some viruses and disease," said Army Col. Deydre Teyhen, Commander of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

The relationship between sleep and infectious disease is now being explored by researchers across the world, and several interesting and important findings have been reported.  For example, in one study, volunteers without previous exposure to the common cold were exposed to a live sample of the virus. Researchers found that no variable predicted whether a participant would fall sick better than sleep duration – not even age or stress level. In other words, those who habitually slept less were more likely to fall ill with the cold virus.

In another study conducted by the same group, a “sleep threshold” was discovered: individuals who averaged less than seven hours of sleep per night were found to have a three-fold greater risk of infection relative to those who averaged eight or more; that rate climbed to a 4 ½-fold greater risk for those with less than five hours of sleep.

Perhaps most surprisingly, it has also been found that six months after receiving a hepatitis B vaccination, individuals who slept fewer than six hours on the night prior to vaccination were at significant risk of being unprotected compared to those who had obtained more than seven hours of sleep.

In addition, there is now limited but exciting evidence from animal studies suggesting that sleep not only helps protect against initial infection, it also plays a direct role in aiding recovery from infectious illness.

Although there have not yet been any studies in which the relationship between sleep duration and COVID-19 infection have been studied directly, lessons learned from studying the relationship between sleep duration and other infectious diseases can readily be generalized to COVID-19.

"Sleep is critical for maintaining physical, cognitive and immunological dominance on and off the battlefield.  Leaders must prioritize sleep as a valuable asset in maintaining readiness and resilience, especially in the context of multi-domain operations and increased health risks worldwide—including those risks associated with exposure to infectious diseases," says Army Lt. Col. Vincent Capaldi, director of the Behavioral Biology branch at WRAIR, responsible for studying the relationship between sleep, performance and military effectiveness.

Unfortunately, approximately one in three American adults do not obtain the American Academy of Sleep Medicine-recommended 7+ hours of sleep per night, a situation that is estimated to cost the US economy approximately $411 billion a year due to increased errors and accidents, lower productivity and increased absenteeism. And the problem is particularly pronounced in the military, where approximately two in three Soldiers average six or fewer hours of sleep a night.

Research laboratories under the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command including WRAIR, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease and U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, are working diligently on a range of solutions to detect, treat and prevent COVID-19, including a vaccine.

WRAIR sleep and infectious disease researchers are also jointly exploring the relationship between sleep and immune function – a natural collaboration since the WRAIR infectious disease research programs are among the best in the world, having contributed to the development of many FDA-approved vaccines and every existing FDA-approved malaria prevention drug. Furthermore, WRAIR’s world-renowned sleep and performance research program has generated several technological and knowledge products, including wrist actigraphy (a precursor to current smart watch technology) to reliably measure and quantify sleep in the field; human functional brain imaging studies that have furthered scientific understanding of sleep and sleep loss and the discovery of “sleep banking”: the finding that extra sleep prior to a mission with sleep loss blunts the performance decrement and reduces the amount of sleep needed to fully recover afterwards.

As medical countermeasure development efforts progress, obtaining at least seven hours of sleep per night in a comfortable, cool, quiet, dark and safe area, in addition to regular handwashing with soap and water and maintaining a healthy social distance (6 feet), will continue to constitute the first line of defense against infection.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

Infographic
10/26/2018
Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

This study evaluated incidence of pre-deployment family problem diagnoses and psychiatric medical evacuations among a population of active component service members without a history of previous mental health diagnoses, who deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility for the first time between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Infographic
10/26/2018
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The purpose of this study was to update previous MSMR analyses of the incidence of acute Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) among U.S. active component women using a 21-year surveillance period from 1996 through 2016. A secondary objective was to report on the proportion of service women with previously diagnosed PID who were subsequently diagnosed with infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

CVD

Infographic
10/3/2018
CVD

As of part of WOMEN’S HEALTH MONTH, we focus on the findings related to female service members. If the risk factors are recognized, these service members can take steps to modify their lifestyles or obtain appropriate medical intervention, and reduce the likelihood of significant CVD while serving in the Armed Forces, and also after leaving service.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Gynecologic Disorders

Infographic
10/3/2018
Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
10/3/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S.; HPV is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV vaccine is not mandatory for U.S. military service members, but the Defense Health Agency and each individual service have policies encouraging and offering HPV vaccination to service members. As part of women's health month, we examine initiation, coverage and completion rates of HPV vaccine among female service members.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., and is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV is not a mandatory vaccine for U.S. military service. However, it is encouraged and offered to service members.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Drowning

Infographic
9/24/2018
Drowning

Service members are at risk for unintentional drownings during training, occupational activities, and off-duty recreation. In the U.S., unintentional drowning ranks as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death and accounted for an average of 3,558 deaths (non-boating related) annually between 2007 and 2016. The current analysis extends and updates the findings of the June 2015 MSMR article by summarizing counts, rates, and correlates of risk of medical encounters related to accidental drownings among U.S. military members during 2013–2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HIV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HIV

As part of the U.S. military’s total-force HIV screening program, civilian applicants for military service are screened for antibodies to HIV during pre-accession medical examinations. Infection with HIV is medically disqualifying for entry into U.S. military service. Since 1986, all members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces have been periodically screened to detect newly acquired HIV infections.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Staphylococcus

Infographic
8/27/2018
Staphylococcus

Staphylococcus: Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI). Military personnel in congregate settings (e.g., training, deployment) are at increased risk for S. aureus colonization and SSTI. For a 7-month period in 2016, an observational cohort study of S. aureus colonization and SSTI among U.S. Navy submariners was conducted.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Norovirus

Infographic
8/27/2018
Norovirus

Beginning in 2011, the Operational Infectious Diseases (OID) laboratory at the Naval Health Research Center has undertaken routine surveillance of four U.S. military training facilities to systematically track the prevalence of acute gastroenteritis and to establish its etiologies among U.S. military recruits.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Food Allergy

Infographic
7/25/2018
Individuals with a history of food-allergy anaphylaxis or a systemic reaction to food do not meet military accession or retention standards and require a waiver in order to serve in the military.  First-line treatment for anaphylaxis includes rapid administration of epinephrine.

Individuals with a history of food-allergy anaphylaxis or a systemic reaction to food do not meet military accession or retention standards and require a waiver in order to serve in the military. First-line treatment for anaphylaxis includes rapid administration of epinephrine.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Acute Injuries

Infographic
7/25/2018
Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces frequently engage in high levels of physical activity to perform their duties, and such activity can potentially result in training- or duty-related injury.  This report summarizes the incidence, trends, types, external causes, and dispositions of acute injuries among active component U.S. service members over a 10-year surveillance period.

Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces frequently engage in high levels of physical activity to perform their duties, and such activity can potentially result in training- or duty-related injury. This report summarizes the incidence, trends, types, external causes, and dispositions of acute injuries among active component U.S. service members over a 10-year surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Stimulants - Are you up to speed?

Infographic
5/19/2016
Operation Supplement Safety infographic about stimulants

Get up to speed and check out the new OPSS infographic with information on what you need to know about these dietary supplement ingredients

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Consortium for Health and Military Performance | Nutritional Fitness

Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

Infographic
10/26/2018
Psychiatric Medical Evaluations

This study evaluated incidence of pre-deployment family problem diagnoses and psychiatric medical evacuations among a population of active component service members without a history of previous mental health diagnoses, who deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility for the first time between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Infographic
10/26/2018
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The purpose of this study was to update previous MSMR analyses of the incidence of acute Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) among U.S. active component women using a 21-year surveillance period from 1996 through 2016. A secondary objective was to report on the proportion of service women with previously diagnosed PID who were subsequently diagnosed with infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

CVD

Infographic
10/3/2018
CVD

As of part of WOMEN’S HEALTH MONTH, we focus on the findings related to female service members. If the risk factors are recognized, these service members can take steps to modify their lifestyles or obtain appropriate medical intervention, and reduce the likelihood of significant CVD while serving in the Armed Forces, and also after leaving service.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Gynecologic Disorders

Infographic
10/3/2018
Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Gynecologic disorders are conditions that affect the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. As part of Women’s Health Month, this report describes the incidence and burden of four commonly occur-ring gynecologic disorders (menorrhagia, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, and endometriosis) among active component service women from 2012 through 2016. This report also documents the number and percentage of women with co-occurring incident diagnoses during the surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
10/3/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S.; HPV is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV vaccine is not mandatory for U.S. military service members, but the Defense Health Agency and each individual service have policies encouraging and offering HPV vaccination to service members. As part of women's health month, we examine initiation, coverage and completion rates of HPV vaccine among female service members.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HPV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., and is the second most frequently diagnosed STI in U.S. military service members. Currently, HPV is not a mandatory vaccine for U.S. military service. However, it is encouraged and offered to service members.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Drowning

Infographic
9/24/2018
Drowning

Service members are at risk for unintentional drownings during training, occupational activities, and off-duty recreation. In the U.S., unintentional drowning ranks as the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death and accounted for an average of 3,558 deaths (non-boating related) annually between 2007 and 2016. The current analysis extends and updates the findings of the June 2015 MSMR article by summarizing counts, rates, and correlates of risk of medical encounters related to accidental drownings among U.S. military members during 2013–2017.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

HIV

Infographic
9/24/2018
HIV

As part of the U.S. military’s total-force HIV screening program, civilian applicants for military service are screened for antibodies to HIV during pre-accession medical examinations. Infection with HIV is medically disqualifying for entry into U.S. military service. Since 1986, all members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces have been periodically screened to detect newly acquired HIV infections.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Staphylococcus

Infographic
8/27/2018
Staphylococcus

Staphylococcus: Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI). Military personnel in congregate settings (e.g., training, deployment) are at increased risk for S. aureus colonization and SSTI. For a 7-month period in 2016, an observational cohort study of S. aureus colonization and SSTI among U.S. Navy submariners was conducted.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Norovirus

Infographic
8/27/2018
Norovirus

Beginning in 2011, the Operational Infectious Diseases (OID) laboratory at the Naval Health Research Center has undertaken routine surveillance of four U.S. military training facilities to systematically track the prevalence of acute gastroenteritis and to establish its etiologies among U.S. military recruits.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Food Allergy

Infographic
7/25/2018
Individuals with a history of food-allergy anaphylaxis or a systemic reaction to food do not meet military accession or retention standards and require a waiver in order to serve in the military.  First-line treatment for anaphylaxis includes rapid administration of epinephrine.

Individuals with a history of food-allergy anaphylaxis or a systemic reaction to food do not meet military accession or retention standards and require a waiver in order to serve in the military. First-line treatment for anaphylaxis includes rapid administration of epinephrine.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Acute Injuries

Infographic
7/25/2018
Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces frequently engage in high levels of physical activity to perform their duties, and such activity can potentially result in training- or duty-related injury.  This report summarizes the incidence, trends, types, external causes, and dispositions of acute injuries among active component U.S. service members over a 10-year surveillance period.

Service members in the U.S. Armed Forces frequently engage in high levels of physical activity to perform their duties, and such activity can potentially result in training- or duty-related injury. This report summarizes the incidence, trends, types, external causes, and dispositions of acute injuries among active component U.S. service members over a 10-year surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Stimulants - Are you up to speed?

Infographic
5/19/2016
Operation Supplement Safety infographic about stimulants

Get up to speed and check out the new OPSS infographic with information on what you need to know about these dietary supplement ingredients

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Consortium for Health and Military Performance | Nutritional Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 46 - 58 Page 4 of 4

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.