From fatigue and drowsiness to irritability and loss of focus, the effects of sleep deprivation are well known. But did you know that it can also have profound consequences on your immune system?
Your immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against infection and disease. It keeps you healthy by attacking pathogens that make you sick such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Your body is exposed to bacteria and viruses on a regular basis. And when your body recognizes these foreign invaders, your immune system kicks into gear to fight them and stores information about them for future use. People don’t typically pay much attention to their immune systems unless they fail in some way. You’re more likely to start paying attention to your body’s internal workings if you get sick or have an infection.
So how does sleep affect your immune system? Studies have shown that routinely depriving your body of sleep has a significant negative impact on your immune system’s ability to respond to pathogens and how quickly you recover if you do get ill. The body’s immune response is regulated in part by proteins called cytokines. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes less of the cytokines that help you respond to infections, leaving you more susceptible to illness.
Not only is your body producing fewer cytokines, but your T cell production is also affected. T cells are white blood cells that play a vital role in the immune system’s response to viruses. When T cells recognize a virus-infected cell, they activate sticky proteins known as integrins that allow them to attach to and kill the infected cell. Researchers have found when you don’t get enough sleep, your T cells may not function at their best, making it more difficult for your body to fight illness.
The bottom line is that good, quality sleep can help bolster your immune system. So make sure you get your 7 to 8 hours of sleep regularly. Work on creating a sleep schedule each day, avoid blue light at night and create a comfortable and safe environment for sleep. And if you need a little help, try incorporating Som Sleep into your routine. The scientifically formulated, drug-free supplement helps your body get the ingredients it needs for better sleep. Just drink one small berry-flavored can 30 minutes before you’re ready to snooze.
Remember, though sleep is an important part, it is not the only way to keep yourself healthy and your immune system strong. With the recent spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s very important to:
- Practice social distancing
- Wash your hands regularly
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Exercise regularly
- Stay hydrated, and
- Eat a well-balanced diet.