Alaska Sleep Education Center

Sleep and Your Immune System

Posted by Kyla Stewart on Sep 16, 2021 2:15:00 AM

Woman sleeping to better health.

Not many people realize how much the quality of sleep they get every day affects aspects of their lives. Most of the issues that contribute to poor sleeping habits are voluntarily induced; therefore, they can be rectified, prevented, or improved.

This can be done if you prioritize sleep and get everything you need to help improve it. Exercising, transforming your bedroom into a serene, comfortable environment, eliminating any distractions during bedtime are all things you can implement in your quest to improve your sleep quality. 

Moreover, the comfortability of your mattress and your partner's presence has an influence on your sleep. Engaging in intimacy helps couples sleep better; therefore, having a strong mattress for sex is essential in this case. However, having a partner may also contribute to your sleep deprivation in instances where their snoring is too distracting.

Good quality sleep is attributed to good health because of its connection to your immune system. It is important for your immunity to remain in optimal condition in order to defend your body against attacks. Let's take a look at the importance of sleep to your immune system.

 

How Does Your Quality of Sleep Affect Your Immune System?

Pretty lady deep in sleep.

The immune system receives essential support when good sleep is involved. Adequate sleep allows your body to feature a defensive system that is adaptive, robust, and can efficiently react to vaccines and conjures up fewer allergic reactions.

Lacking proper sleep because of sleeping conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or circadian rhythm disruption, can lead to an interference with your body's defense system. This is because sleep deprivation has an array of health effects, which studies confirm, can negatively impact the immune system making you more susceptible to illnesses.

 

What Conditions Have been Linked to Poor Quality of Sleep?

Various chronic conditions and short-term illnesses have been linked to sleep deprivation. Chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes13 are among the potential risks you may face when you lack a proper night's sleep. Studies continue to tie these conditions over how sleep deprivation intervenes with normal immune system functions.

Similarly, studies conducted conclude that persons who sleep for less than 6- 7 hours each night are at a higher risk of getting infections. It has also been revealed that catching the flu and common cold is easier for persons who get insufficient sleep. Moreover, patients receiving treatment for illnesses may have their recovery hindered due to a lack of proper sleep.

People who get good sleep have been proven to have inflammation reduced back to normal during sleep. Poor sleepers, on the other hand, fail to experience this self-regulating phenomenon allowing inflammation to prevail. This degree of gradual inflammation endorses the risk of diabetes, pain, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular illnesses. 

 

What Can You Do to Improve Sleep for a Stronger Immune System?

Getting a significant amount of uninterrupted sleep each night can help improve your immune system functions. This can be done by prioritizing sleep and working towards achieving healthier sleeping habits.

You can start by seeking medical help if you suffer from any sleep conditions. And if you just find it difficult to sleep due to stress or fatigue, work on engaging in relaxing activities before going to bed, improve your sleeping environment, get rid of any distracting devices, and avoid using any substance close to bedtime. 

 

Good Sleep for Good Health

Embrace relaxation techniques that may help prepare you for bed and other lifestyle changes that might help improve your quality of sleep. This will help get your immune system back on track.

Whether you are trying to turn around chronic problems with sleep or deal with getting a good night’s rest, practicing good sleep hygiene is essential.  Here are some strategies for a 24-hour-a-day practice:

  • Get up at the same time every day no matter what, even when you go to bed later than usual. This is especially important now when normal schedules are disrupted.
  • Get exposure to sunlight. Take a walk or at least sit outside. Exposure to light in the morning — even on a cloudy day — resets your brain clock. Without it, your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake schedule will be delayed.
  • Limit caffeine after 2 p.m.
  • Exercise in the late afternoon or evening, but at least four hours before bedtime. Cooling down the body after exercising promotes good sleep.
  • At night, use the night mode on smartphones and tablets. But avoid LED screens and monitors of any kind within one to two hours of bedtime, especially nowadays when much of what we are watching is anxiety-provoking.
  • Go to bed when you’re ready to sleep. Try to set a bedtime that will get you seven or eight hours of sleep. But if you’re not sleepy, don’t get into bed until you are. Don’t worry if you won’t get seven or eight hours of sleep on any given night. That just makes it more difficult to fall asleep. You can make up for sleep loss in naps the next day if need be.

 

Remember:  Even if you do come down with a cold or virus, you’ll be able to bounce back faster if your body is well-rested. If your sleep is a chronic issue, get your health back on track ASAP.  Call Alaska Sleep Clinic today to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna, or Wasilla.  Learn more at the 4th most visited website for sleep education in the World at www.alaskasleep.com.

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