When it comes to your health, sleep plays a very important role! While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting sick, skipping much needed rest can effect the immune system, leaving you vulnerable to catching the cold, flu, or other virus.
In 2016 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that more than one-third of Americans weren’t getting enough sleep.
As recommended by the National Sleep Foundation, the Mayo Clinic, and other top healthcare professionals; here’s what you need to know to stay out of risk & immune system ready!
What effects loss of sleep has & where your risks are increased: (But, not limited too!)
- Heart Disease & Cardiovascular Problems
- Tumor Growth
- Decrease in Vaccine Effectiveness
- Common Colds, Flu, H1N1 virus, Malaria, & Bacterial Infections
- Increased Stress
- Increased Pain Sensitivity
- Depression & Anxiety
Cytokines and Sleep: What is the connection?
When you sleep less, the body will make less amounts of cytokines.
What are Cytokines? (T Cells)
- It is a protein type which finds inflammation & infections, essentially it is what is responsible for your immune systems responsiveness.
- Cytokines are created & distributed while you sleep.
Therefore, chronic loss of sleep will decrease the effectiveness of your immune system and also reduce flu vaccine effectiveness.
“Our findings show that sleep has the potential to enhance the efficiency of T cell responses, which is especially relevant in light of the high prevalence of sleep disorders and conditions characterized by impaired sleep, such as depression, chronic stress, aging, and shift work.”
Study co-author Luciana Besedovsky
What to do? Stock Up on Naps!
The best coarse of action to stay healthy, especially vital during flu season, is to get your full sleep recommendation of 7-8 hours nightly.
- By doing this, it works to keep the immune system in good health and additionally can protect against other health issues including obesity, diabetes, heart disease. For those who have no option to get the recommended amounts of sleep, our advice is to attempt to recoup lost sleep, by taking short naps. This can be very effective.
- Recommendation: Take 2 naps at a maximum of 1/2 hour a piece; 1 time in the mornings & 1 time mid day. Doing this has proven to decrease stress & decrease the negative effects sleep deprivation takes on your immune system.
- Backup Recommendation: For those who cannot get a 30 minute sleep session during workdays, shoot for a small 20-minute nap on during your lunchtime break & 1 more directly after eating your evening supper.
Additional Healthy Immune System Strategies:
Sleep is only one of the major causes of creating a healthy or destructive immune system, so it’s important to continue practicing regular healthy living strategies.
- Wash hands regularly & for a full 30 seconds.
- Take your A-Z vitamins daily.
- Getting adequate exercise weekly.
- See your doctor annually for check-ups & stay up to date with vaccines.
- Eating a healthy mixed diet full of vegetables.
When your body is well rested, it’s ability to tackle immune system threats is highly increased. So, stay rested and you will get well much quicker, when you’ve been well rested!