When you think about being healthy, or the strength of your immune system, you often think about your diet, or how much you exercise. However, when it comes to immune system function, sleep plays a far greater role than you might realize. Getting a good night’s sleep won’t stop you from getting sick, but if you aren’t sleeping properly, you’re far more likely to get a cold or a bad flu.
The Importance of Sleep
You know that when you don’t sleep you struggle with your energy levels, and feel tired and sluggish. You will have a hard time focusing on tasks, or getting things accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. Your mood is affected, and you feel more irritable or easily upset. Research shows that quality sleep improves your physical and mental well-being and will protect you from health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity.
How Sleep Affects Cytokines
Sleep also affects your immune system in profound ways, and if you’re not sleeping enough, you risk getting sick from a variety of illnesses. Cytokines are proteins of the immune system that keep you healthy. These proteins target areas of infection or inflammation and are part of your immune system’s response to a threat to your health. When you’re not sleeping well, your body produces fewer cytokines, meaning your body isn’t able to fight off threats and you’ll be more susceptible to illnesses. Not only are fewer cytokines being produced, this protein is also released during sleep, so if you’re not getting enough hours of rest, your body doesn’t have what it needs in the blood stream to fight off any attacks to your health.
Getting Extra Sleep
If you’ve been feeling sleep deprived, or wake up tired, don’t hesitate to take an afternoon nap. We know that you’re busy working, looking after the children, or pursuing hobbies that you love, but you should be getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep will sleeping boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
Did you have a busy week that disturbed your sleep cycle? While you might have a long to do list planned for your Saturday afternoon, scrapping the list and getting a couple extra hours of sleep could improve your health, and strengthen your immune system. Napping also decreases stress, and will do wonders for the immune system. Even a half an hour nap can boost your energy levels and improve your mood. You can also nap during the work week, and a 20-minute shut eye during your lunch break or just before dinner can keep you healthy and strong.
Develop Healthy Habits
Along with sleeping better, there are a few healthy habits that will boost your immune system and keep your body running in tip top shape. Things like washing your hands regularly to prevent the spread of germs, particularly if you have children, will go a long way to helping your immune system fight off illnesses. Take a look at your diet, and be sure you’re eating a lot of fruits and vegetables so that your body will have all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to keep you healthy.
Sound Sleep Medical
Have you been struggling to sleep at night? Maybe you’re not able to fall asleep when you go to bed, or find yourself waking up repeatedly during the night. Whatever the case may be, at Sound Sleep Medical we’ll help you find the solutions to your sleep, and help you get the rest you need to boost your immune system. Visit us today, and we’ll talk about your sleep habits, such as not using electronics before bed, or sleeping in a cool, dark room. The position you sleep in and the pillows you use affect your sleep, and even what you eat before bed could be preventing you from sleeping well.
If you wake up during the night, you could be struggling with a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. At Sound Sleep Medical, we’ll perform a sleep test, and determine if you need treatment for a sleep disorder. We’re committed to helping you get the sleep you deserve so that you can wake up each morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.