Sleep and Your Immune System

How does the lack of sleep affect your day?

Sleep is sleep, right?

The importance of sleep is, for some, overlooked. We know what happens when we don’t get enough sleep: irritability, difficulty concentrating and those baggy eyes!

Sleep is vital for your mental health. Good sleep enhances memory retention and recollection, problem-solving, alertness, creativity, adaptability and helps regulate emotions. A lack of sleep may also contribute to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

While you might recognize the physical, mental and emotional detriments of insufficient sleep you may not be aware that insufficient sleep could adversely affect your immune system. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep so it is imperative that you allow for proper rest to ward off pathogens.

Quality sleep involves Rapid Eye Movement (REM) where your eyes move quickly in different directions signalling increased brain activity which does not happen during non-REM sleep. Three stages of non-REM sleep precludes a fourth stage. During this fourth stage, that is when you enter the critical and beneficial REM cycle.

Phase 1 – Everything starts to slow down;
Phase 2 – Your heart rate slows and body temperature drops in preparation for deep sleep;
Phase 3 – Deep sleep. During this phase the body repairs and regrows tissues, builds bones and muscle, and strengthens the immune system.
Phase 4 – REM sleep. Your heart rate and breathing quickens. Your eyes move rapidly behind the eyelids and brain activity livens. You can have intense dreams during REM sleep since your brain is more active.

It is vital for you to experience both Non-REM and REM throughout sleep to feel fully rested the following day.

OK so how do you get a good night's sleep? Do a little less bad and a little more good.

Less caffeine. Cut out the caffeine by the afternoon.

Less alcohol. Limit drinking late into the evening as it can disrupt your sleep patterns by disrupting REM sleep.

Less late dinners or snacks. Eating food later at night can cause acid reflux and also a boost of energy when you should be winding down and readying for bed time.

More exercise. Regular exercise builds muscle to improve the quality of sleep and can help you maintain a regular rest schedule.

More routine. Keeping a regular routine for sleep will support the body's internal clock and rhythm (ie: circadian rhythm).

More relaxation. You might find it helpful to incorporate relaxation techniques or meditation into your wind-down routine.

More sleep. You need seven to eight hours a night.

There’s an old saying, “The young sleep late and the beautiful sleep half again as late.
Give yourself some sleep - it will not only enhance your immune system, but it will also help you feel and look your BEST!

What is causing you to lose sleep?

How do you feel when you get 7-8 hours of sleep regularly?

If you have missed any of the articles in our series or our videos not to worry click below:
                 Vitamin D: Blog   Video
                 Exercise & Meditation: Video
                 Nutrition: Blog     Video
                 Hydration: Blog  Video
                 Sleep:   Video
                 Laughter: Blog    Video
                 Vitamin C: Blog   Video

The Healthy Way Vibes – Health Warriors

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Sources: Ask the Scientists – Jenna Templton; Web-MD; National Sleep Foundation; Sleep; Pictures by Pixabay from Pexels


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