Although when we usually refer to hygiene, we’re talking about sleep hygiene. Yet with the current concerns about COVID-19 outbreaks, we felt it was appropriate to share different hygiene tips that will hopefully help you sleep easier tonight knowing you’re taking smart steps to help prevent the spread of viruses and germs.
1. Clean Surfaces With the Intent to Prevent Viral Infection
Cleaning to prevent viral infection is different than cleaning to impress your friends and family when they visit. Viruses can live on hard surfaces for several days. To kill those viruses it’s important to use a cleaner that will kill the virus. CDC recommends using cleansers that contain chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol.
Use Disinfectants According to Instructions
It’s also important to use disinfectants according to package instructions. A quick spray won’t cut it. When you’re disinfecting surfaces you need to have enough of the disinfecting solution that it takes time to dry on the surface. For example, Clorox disinfecting wipes, a popular solution clearly states the surface must remain visibly wet for four minutes while the surface dries.
If you’re one of the many people who wipe a surface until it appears dry and clean, you could be spreading germs around the surface. Instead, try using a single wipe for a single surface and toss it. Let it dry on its own.
If you can’t find disinfecting wipes or sprays because your local stores or online warehouses are sold out, there are alternative disinfecting wipes or sprays you can use to kill germs.
Alternatives To Disinfecting Wipes That Kill Germs
- Diluted household bleach
Keep in mind this may not be appropriate for all surfaces, not only because it bleaches things, but also because it can corrode some metals. The CDC recommends preparing a bleach solution for disinfecting by adding 1/3rd cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 tsp of bleach per quart of water.Tip: Don’t premix, store or apply your bleach solution with a spray bottle. The active ingredient may react with the metal parts in a trigger spray bottle and create a rust solution.
- Isopropyl Alcohol (aka Rubbing Alcohol)
Rubbing alcohol is a solution of water mixed with either isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol and is effective at deactivating lipid viruses. Alcohol solutions at the store are already diluted, usually at a 70 or 90-91 percent alcohol. Alcohol concentrations above 70 percent are considered effective at disinfecting for viruses according to the CDC.
2. Use Disposable Products When Possible
Reusing cloth rags to clean surfaces increases the risk of potentially spreading germs. When possible, use disinfecting wipes or paper towels.
Create a Cleaning Routine
AM Cleaning Routine
In the mornings replace bathroom hand towels, or trade out a fabric towel for a disposable towel.
After breakfast, wipe down the refrigerator door, microwave, stove knobs and any drawer knobs or handles that may have been touched. Disinfect the faucet and swap out kitchen towels or sanitize sponges.
PM Cleaning Routine
In the evenings, before bed, disinfect the light switches in each room, toilet handles, faucets and faucet handles. If you haven’t done so throughout the day, make sure you include doorknobs and stair handrails if you have them.
As Needed, Throughout the Day
Items or surfaces that get high use throughout the day should also be cleaned. Television remotes, game controllers, phones and tablets should be disinfected before using them. This is especially true when you have family members who may have brought germs home with them.
Don’t forget surfaces outside the home, such as your vehicle’s door handle, steering wheel, knobs and dials you touch often. A quick wipe down when you get in or out of the vehicle can help prevent the spread of germs you may have picked up at the office, grocery store or gas station.
3. Use a Targeted Hygiene Approach
With the recent concerns and strong need to quickly prevent the spread of this virus, it can be overwhelming to think about cleaning and disinfecting your entire home. Creating a routine as we mentioned above is a smart way to keep on top of it every day, but initially, you may feel the need to do a more in-depth cleaning.
If the thought of this is making you feel overwhelmed, you’re likely not alone. So it’s important to first focus on the areas that are more likely to carry harmful viruses to initially address the problem.
These areas are typically high touch, high usage areas in the home, and if you’re still going into an office for work, you may want to focus on your personal space there as well. These high touch areas to focus on include:
- House keys
- Faucet handles
- TV remotes
- Light switches
- Kitchen cabinet knobs or handles
- Refrigerator door handle
Sleep Naturally Boosts Your Immune System
As more Americans continue to take precautions against the novel coronavirus, they’re also looking for ways to naturally boost their immune systems. That’s where a good night’s sleep comes in.
Making sure you get consistent, quality sleep is perhaps the best move you can make for your immune system — especially at a time like this.
A number of studies have made this clear. In one example from a few years ago, researchers from UC San Francisco found people who slept six hours a night or less were 4.2 times more likely to catch the common cold than those who got 8 hours of sleep or more. This figure grew even more concerning for participants who slept even less; participants who slept 5 hours or less each night were 4.5 times more likely to catch a cold.
Why is sleep so important for your immune system?
Deep sleep leads to the production and release of cytokine, a protein that helps your immune system quickly tackle antigens, or toxins, that are foreign to your body. Cytokines promote cell-to-cell communication and direct cells towards infections, helping your body tackle problems. At the same time, quality sleep fosters T Cell production, which are necessary white blood cells that attack and destroy virus-carrying cells. Poor sleep blocks both cytokine and T Cell production, making it harder for your body to fight back against viruses.
Read this recent blog post of ours for more information on how sleep helps boost your immune system, as well as for tips getting better sleep.
Lastly, if you believe an undiagnosed sleep disorder is interfering with your rest, reach out today for an evaluation. We diagnose and treat more than 90 sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, and are confident we can help you get better sleep — and help your immune system in the process.
Dimitrov, Stoyan et al. (2019). Gαs -coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine 216 (3): 517-526. Retrieved on March 15, 2020 from:
Prather, Aric et al. (2015). Behaviorally assessed sleep and susceptibility to the common cold. Sleep, 38 (9): 1353-1359. Retrieved on March 15, 2020 from: