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Use Sunlight and Sleep to Lower COVID-19 Risk

Person sleeping in bed underneath window letting sunlight in to protect against COVID-19

yakobchuk olena/

Two readily available natural strategies—sunlight exposure and sufficient sleep—appear to lower the risks of suffering and dying from COVID-19, report two new studies. Researchers from the UK University of Edinburgh examined records of 2,474 U.S. counties from January to April 2020 to compare numbers of COVID-related deaths to levels of UVA rays from the sun. They found that people living in counties with the highest UVA levels had on average, a 29 percent lower chance of dying from the coronavirus. They ruled out the vitamin D factor by not including counties with UVB levels that would produce the vitamin. Repeating the analysis in England and Italy produced the same results. The researchers theorized that nitric oxide released by the skin when in sunlight may reduce the ability of that virus to replicate. 

A second study of 2,884 high-risk healthcare workers in five European countries and the U.S. found that every additional hour of sleep reduces the risk of COVID-19 infection by 12 percent. However, insomnia, disrupted sleep and daily burnout are linked to a heightened risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus, having more severe symptoms and a longer recovery period, reports the researchers in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health. People that had problems like difficulty falling or staying asleep or regularly using sleeping pills were 88 percent more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those without such issues. 

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