The main task of peoples today is to resist the temptation and stay at home, despite the good weather outside. The house is the most reliable protection against corona-virus. But this does not mean that prolonged self-isolation does not harm the body on other fronts. Vision problems, digestive upset, and depression are just the tip of the iceberg.
Science has been studying the harmful effects of prolonged meetings on the couch since cable television appeared in the United States. They are remembered in social networks and tabloid editorial offices every winter, at a time when many by inertia prefer to stay at the hearth, so as not to freeze once again and not inadvertently catch a cold. The practice is useful, but the main thing in this matter is not to overdo it. And then you can get hold of the following health problems.
Eyes at risk
Especially in children and adolescents. One of the reasons is that in apartments and houses, there is not enough space to activate the muscles responsible for focusing on distant objects. Over time, they atrophy. And this happens faster in children than in adults. Another reason is the lack of vitamin D, about the consequences of which it would be possible to write a separate material. Still, we decided to dwell on the most unobvious. Surprisingly, the correlation between forwarding on the street and visual impairment is so strong that in winter, when daylight hours are very short, myopia progresses faster than at other times of the year. Observation of Australian and Chinese scientists for children aged six to 18 years showed that when lengthening walks by 7–9 hours a week (due to the expansion of school changes), the risk of myopia is reduced by 45–50%.
Depression will make you believe in yourself
Many are waiting for the weekend to lie on the couch and relax. Rest at home is the key to a good mood. But a prolonged rest at home is the key to clinical depression. Because the body is yearning for the sun. And the reason is not that the open air is just more fun. And the fact is that by absorbing the rays of starlight, the human body begins to produce a natural antidepressant – the hormone serotonin. There are a lot of studies showing a correlation between mood and the number of minutes spent in the sun. One of the first happened already in 2002. It was then that Australian scientists came up with the idea of measuring the level of the discussed hormone not in the fluids circulating the brain or spine, as was done before, but directly in the blood. Regular measurements in 101 men showed that the level of serotonin in the blood directly depends on the time spent under the sun. It doesn’t matter if it’s winter in the yard or summer; the body needs natural light. Otherwise, the blues will cover for one or two. In conditions of self-isolation, the surest way to maintain the balance of an antidepressant in the blood is to place the workplace near the largest window in an apartment or house. The workability of this life hack was noted by many foreign journalists who had a chance to survive the quarantine.
Permanent stay at home with artificial lighting negatively affects circadian rhythms and, as a consequence, on the quality of sleep. Over the years, Kenneth Wright, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has done more than one study that proves this. He took volunteers to campsites several times, where people are exposed to the most natural effects of light and darkness. After a week of outdoor recreation, the scientist noted that the level of melatonin, the sleep hormone in the subjects, began to rise two to three hours earlier than before. These changes have contributed to improving the quality of night rest. People (most) who resist natural circadian rhythms have a high predisposition to obesity, diabetes, depression and chronic fatigue. Wright says it’s not just how much you sleep that matters. You need to pay attention also to what time the rest takes place. Professor sure that even two days of outdoor recreation at least once a year reset the biological clock “to the factory settings.” For the rest of the time, regular walks in the sun (at least on the balcony or in front of the window) and the exclusion of blue-green light sources after dark will help you adjust to the “right” time.
Kenneth Wright’s colleague, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine at the University of Chicago, Phyllis Zee, notes that blue-green light dominates nature in the morning. Evening is the time of red and orange colors. However, the blue-green light is generated by the screens of smartphones, laptops and TVs, from which we do not tear ourselves away until we close our eyes before going to bed. Regular walks in the sun (at least on the balcony or in front of the window) and the exclusion of blue-green light sources after dark will help time. Kenneth Wright’s colleague, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine at the University of Chicago, Phyllis Zee, notes that blue-green light dominates nature in the morning. Evening is the time of red and orange colors. However, the blue-green light is generated by the screens of smartphones, laptops and TVs, from which we do not tear ourselves away until we close our eyes before going to bed. Regular walks in the sun (at least on the balcony or in front of the window) and the exclusion of blue-green light sources after dark will help time. Kenneth Wright’s colleague, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine at the University of Chicago, Phyllis Zee, notes that blue-green light dominates nature in the morning. The evening is the time of red and orange colors. However, the blue-green light generated by the screens of smartphones, laptops and TVs, from which we do not tear ourselves away until we close our eyes before going to bed.
Flu and asthma
Daily man skips through its lungs from 12 to 15 thousand litres of air. And the quality of this resource cannot but affect health. The air in a clean-looking city building can be up to five times dirtier than outside. Air quality is a pretty abstract thing: the composition of the gas we breathe is influenced by humidity, the type of light sources, dust and more. There are no universal tips for maintaining optimal air quality. However, watching your condition, you can understand what is missing for sure. The mucous membrane of the eye is dying, drowsiness is felt? Need to increase humidity. This problem is almost certainly common right now when many homes still have heating. Heaters make air only drier. And drowsiness is the lesser of the troubles such a situation can cause. There are tons of studies that prove that in dry air, the influenza virus lives longer and spreads faster than in wet. That is why in all countries, the flu seasons fall precisely during the cold season. And even under quarantine, this is worth remembering, because, although people’s contacts are minimized, they still happen. In shops, pharmacies, taxis … However, this does not mean that you urgently need to equip the apartment with humidifiers – without fanaticism. Other studies, by contrast, show that living in rooms with excessive humidity increases the risk of asthma by 40%.
Once we already notice about how much people depend on their microbiome. Today, recall again. In 2018, scientists from the University of Illinois held experience with mice. Researchers subjected one group of rodents to regular intensive training, and the other, on the contrary, strongly motivated them to a passive lifestyle. As a result, it turned out that in the intestines of sports mice strains of beneficial bacteria were introduced, which more quickly treat damage and inflammation of the digestive tract. Later, the experiment was repeated on 32 men and women. Only now, people were not divided into groups, but at first, they forced them to lead an active lifestyle for several weeks, and then relax as much. So, in the busy period, all participants appeared in the digestive tract microbes that contribute to the production of short-chain fatty acids. The latter help people better cope with various inflammatory processes in the intestines, and also reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Another similar study shows that aerobics and other activities affect the microbiome of older women.
In no case, do not regard this material as a call to violate the quarantine conditions. The article was written solely to acquaint readers with the potential consequences of prolonged self-isolation. Also, in almost all cases, the negative impact can be minimized.