The spread of coronavirus has created great anxiety all over the world. The COVID-19 strain of the virus affects the immune system, and hence it has become more than important to boost your immunity. There are many ways of boosting immunity which includes following a healthy diet and exercise. But did you know lack of sleep for many continuous nights can make you more susceptible to illnesses? There is a deep connection between immunity and sleep. Read on to know the connection between sleep and the immune system:
What is the Connection between the Immune System and Sleep?
Numerous studies have been conducted which have established a relationship between sleep and the immune system. It has been found that those who sleep for fewer hours had a more compromised immune system when compared to those who get the right amount of sleep. The following happens when you sleep:
The immune system is made of T-cells and these help in destroying the cells that are infected with germs. During sleep, a few things happen among them the important ones are: The T-cells get altered in the lymph nodes and also the cytokines are produced. These cytokines are inflammation controlling proteins that work with the T-cells to boost the immune system. It also increases the immune response to the vaccine that you would have taken as a precaution. Additionally, immunological memory is also increased.
When a person does not sleep well, the body is unable to produce the desired number of cytokines and the T-cells cannot get restructured and this results in weakening of the immune systems. That means the person is more prone to infections like the common cold as the body is unable to produce antibodies that can attack the virus. Apart from low levels of cytokines, inadequate sleep decreases the WBC count which is also an indication of lower immunity.
This is sufficient proof to show that sleep in time plays an important role in maintaining the body’s defence mechanism intact. To have a healthy body it is necessary to have adequate and regular sleeping hours, not just to fight infections but also several diseases. Lack of sleep can lead to diseases like obesity, cardiovascular issues, and diabetes.
How much Sleep is enough to Fight Infections?
The requirement of sleep at night varies from one individual to another. While some can make do with few hours of sleep and their bodies function normally. But there are others who need more sleep. Since for most people, 24 hours a day is not enough, sleep is expendable. But proper sleep is necessary for a healthy body, it is not just enough to get a little sleep and get through the next day. You should sleep well and adequately to have a healthy immune system. In general, for having a better immunity:
- An adult needs to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep
- A teenager should sleep for 9 to 10 hours
- Children should rest for 10 to 12 hours every night.
How to get Proper Sleep?
Sleep is essential for a healthy life which is a well-established fact and with that, there are numerous things that can be used to get proper sleep. Some of them are:
- Buying quality sleep products. There are many innovations in the mattress industry which has helped in creating products that provide comfort. Memory foam mattress with open-cell technology, gel technology, bed in a box, etc is some of them. These products are designed by industry experts like Wakefit who know what to do to get good sleep. Invest in a good quality mattress and pillows that are comfortable to sleep on.
- Do not use any electronic gadgets like your phones, tablets, TVs, etc, a few hours before bed as it delays sleep.
- Maintain a proper sleep schedule by following a routine.
- Ensure that the bedroom environment is conducive to good quality sleep. Block out light and sound that disrupts sleep.
- Keep the optimal temperature in your bedroom so that it is neither too hot nor too cold.
- Declutter your bedroom so that it is relaxing and inviting to sleep.
- Avoid naps late in the noon as that can delay the onset of sleep at night.
- Do not consume alcohol or other beverages a few hours before bed that keeps you up at night.
- Avoid sugary, processed, and fried food at night as that can lead to digestive issues that affect sleep.
Immunity and sleep are connected closely. Hence it is important to have a good sleep to stay healthy and fight diseases. Sleep is also important to keep the mind sound and happy. Just like how a balanced diet and regular exercise is important, so is sleep for the immune system. Despite following proper sleep hygiene you are still unable to sleep, there can be some underlying problems. It is recommended that you visit a doctor to seek a solution to this problem.