Alaska Sleep Education Center

Sleep Makes Flu Shot Effective

Posted by Jennifer Hines on Dec 3, 2019 5:26:00 AM

For a simple way to boost your defense against flu, get plenty of sleep before your flu shot. Those zzzs make a difference, according to a recent study.

Sleep Health and Flu Shot Effectiveness

University of Chicago researchers compared the antibody levels of the sleep-deprived versus the well-rested participants. Those antibodies, which help protect you from illnesses, were significantly lower in the sleep-deprived group. In fact, 10 days post-flu shot, the sleep-deprived folks had antibody levels that were half as high as those who were rested. It took three to four weeks for the immunities to equalize for the two groups.

Another study found those who slept five hours or less were 4.5 times more likely to catch a cold than those who regularly got seven hours of shut eye.

If you do get the flu, sleep is good medicine. Washington State University researchers found a specific brain protein, called AcPb, which is associated with sleep and actually quickened recovery of lab mice infected with H1N1 flu. The trick is in how this brain protein interacts with the immune system to promote the power of sleep health.

How Many Hours to Sleep

The medical world has long advocated the restorative effects of slumber. So how much sleep do you need for a healthy immune system? It varies, but seven to eight hours is a good number for most adults. Just make sure it’s a restful sleep. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed, and put away screen devices which make it harder to fall asleep.

Quality Sleep Boosts Your Immunity

To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape, and also protect you from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. 

If your sleep schedule is interrupted by a busy workweek or other factors, try to make up for the lost rest with naps. Taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each —one in the morning and one in the afternoon—has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. 

If you can’t swing a half-hour nap during the workday, try grabbing a 20-minute siesta on your lunch hour, and another right before dinner.

Can NOT Sleeping Make You Sick?

Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you're under stress.

Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep.

So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

But more sleep isn't always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in a poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Alaska Sleep Clinic is ready to help you improve your sleep and your life.  Call us this week to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists.

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Topics: healthy sleep, flu, staying healthy, immunity

5 Ways to Make Sure You Get Sleep When You Have the Flu

Posted by Becky Holten on Nov 3, 2019 9:51:00 AM

Having flu is not the most pleasant thing in the world. People feel sleepy and tired most of the time. They may have a fever and headaches. They can experience nasal congestion, a sore throat, and a dry cough. The overall feeling people who have the flu have is one of weakness and fatigue. 

The flu is not something anyone wants; yet it happens all the time. Having nasal congestion and a persistent cough might prevent most people from getting enough sleep. While for a healthy person seven hours of sleep per night are enough, a sick person might need ten hours of sleep per night.

The flu sucks all the energy from a person, leaving it weak. And getting enough sleep is important because it helps with the retention of information. Everyone must look for ways to improve their logical thinking and study knowledge.

But, how to make sure that you get enough sleep when you have the flu? All the symptoms might prevent you from getting a night of restful sleep. But there are some tricks everyone can do. 

 

Take Flu Medicines

When having symptoms of flu, medication is the first right thing to do. To be sure one has identified the symptoms correctly, a discussion with a doctor or a pharmacologist is needed. There are a lot of flu medicines that can help you heal faster. And a lot of medicines are designed for nighttime use when the symptoms of the flu are more intense.

So, after reading the labels carefully, you can take one medicine that can stop the cough and nasal congestion. A decongestant would be perfect, but always remember how important is to read the instructions on the box. 

 

Raise Your Head

Everyone knows that the head needs to be at the same level as the feet when sleeping. But things change when having the symptoms of flu. The nose is blocked and a persistent cough prevents anyone from having a good sleep. One trick would be to use some extra pillows that can prop the head higher than usual.

Why is this an important aspect to be taken into consideration? Because it helps the sinuses to drain. This means that that feeling of congestion around your eyes and ears will be gone. Combined with the right medication, this trick can help anyone get a better sleep when sick. The gravity works this for you!

 

Unplug from Electronics Before Sleep

“Unplugging from electronics before sleep is a piece of advice anyone can do, no matter if they have the flu or not. It is the best thing you can do for your health”, says Samantha Jones from essay writing service australia and uk-dissertation.com.

So, it is about the blue light these electronic devices are emitting. Using electronic devices before sleep can delay your internal clock and make your mind and body become alert. This might prevent anyone from falling asleep soon. The effects of using these devices before sleep are devastating in the long term.

The blue light emitted by them causes delays in REM sleep. So, using electronic devices before sleep, especially when you have the flu, might prevent you from falling asleep and staying asleep. In the long term, the usage of the phone, TV or tablet before sleep can cause serious sleep dysfunctions. 

So, it is better to avoid using the phone or watching TV before going to bed. A lot of other before bed activities can be done and they do not imply the blue light of electronic devices. For example, you can read, paint, draw or have a discussion with your family or partner.

Even if you might not be in the mood for these, as you cough, feel weak and have a fever. But for sure they will contribute to better sleep quality. And this is what someone sick needs. 

 

Keep Good Sleep Hygiene

This means that a dark and cool room is better suited for a night of good night sleep. Especially when you are sick. You can use a humidifier to clean the air in your room and make it more breathable. A humidifier moisturizes the air and helps you stay asleep.

Also, when having a fever is difficult to regulate your temperature, so dressing in layers can help. If the temperature fluctuates, you can easily pull up and down that extra layer. 

Part of sleep hygiene is also the bedsheets. Wool bedding is the best option. They offer the best comfort when you are having a fever and you are sweating. 

 

Drink and Eat Hot Meals

Some might think that drinking tea when sick is an obsolete habit. And that eating a bowl of hot chicken soup is something you can see only when watching TV. But it is not.

Drinking hot liquids can help loosen mucus and clean your airways easier. And the hot chicken soup is known to reduce inflammation. But keep in mind that some aliments must be avoided when having the flu.

Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and citrus juice. They upset the stomach and dehydrate you, making the flu even more difficult to handle. Honey, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and thyme are known to have immune-boosting properties. 

 

Conclusion

Having the flu is not something desirable, yet it happens. The flu can prevent you from getting a good night sleep, so a few tips and tricks would be helpful. Drinking hot liquids and having hot meals can help you deal with the blocked nose and dry cough.

Taking flu medicines and keeping good sleep hygiene can ease your time falling asleep. One aspect overlooked by many is the usage of electronic devices that prevent you from falling and staying asleep. 

 

It might seem difficult to get a good night sleep having all those symptoms, but following these easy steps will help you get good rest. However, if you feel that your sleep issues are more serious and may be sleep apnea, call Alaska Sleep Clinic to speak with one of our board-certified sleep specialists for a free assessment.

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Topics: sickness, flu, getting sleep

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