How you feel when you wake up is a good indicator of how well your sleep went. If you're dizzy, stiff and sore, or just plain exhausted, chances are that your body wasn't getting enough restful sleep last night. But what does this have to do with immunity?
An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans struggle with a chronic sleep or wakefulness condition, which makes it difficult for them to function normally and hurts their health and well-being. There are around 90 different types of sleep disorders, most of which are characterized by one of the following signs: excessive daytime drowsiness, trouble falling or staying asleep, or unusual occurrences happening while you sleep.
Numerous detrimental health impacts, such as an elevated risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart attack, depression, and stroke, have been linked to the cumulative long-term effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders. After years of study, it is safe to assert that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders have significant, pervasive consequences on human health.
Sleep and the Immune System
A healthy immune system is key for keeping your body strong and resisting infection. And while many people think of sleep as just a way to relax, it's also essential to helping your body fight disease. A good night's rest can help boost the number of white blood cells in your body, which fight off foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria.
Sleep also supports the production of antibodies that help fight infections, fight cancer cells, and reduce inflammation. One study found that people who slept fewer than seven hours per night were 77% more likely to develop chronic inflammation than those who got at least eight hours of sleep a night.
The connection between sleep disturbances and autoimmune diseases is well documented: Researchshows that too little sleep and too much can increase the risk for multiple sclerosis. In one study from 2012 by Gothenburg University Hospital researchers in Sweden, people who slept less than six hours a night were twice as likely to develop MS as those who slept seven or eight hours.
How Does Sleep Benefit the Immune System?
Getting enough sleep allows your body to recover and repair itself. During sleep, the immune system produces antibodies, which fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Sleep also helps the body produce growth hormone, which reduces inflammation and improves muscle mass. It also prevents weight gain in people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma by improving metabolic function in their brain's memory center (the hippocampus).
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of sleep you need is different for each person. The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, although there is significant individual variation in the requirements of healthy adults. Sleep requirements vary with age, gender, and other factors such as physical activity and stress. If you are not getting the right amount of sleep, it can affect your immune system function. Getting too much or too little sleep may increase your risk for certain diseases or infections.
The Worst Thing About Sleep Deprivation Is...
- Decreased immunity:If you're not getting enough sleep, your immune system suffers. This means you're more susceptible to minor infections such as colds and flu and severe conditions like cancer.
- Increased risk of disease: Research has shown that people who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night are at a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Additionally, other research has linked inadequate sleep with an increased chance of stroke.
- Decreased productivity: When we don't get the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours), our brain can't function well during the day, affecting our mood negatively too! This makes us less productive in all areas because we're just not operating at full capacity (or even close).
- Increased risk of accidents: Not getting enough rest can cause fatigue, leading to mistakes while driving or any other focus-intense tasks!
Sleep Is Essential for Good Health
Sleep is essential for good health, and lack of sleep has been linked to many medical conditions. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. In addition, sleep deprivation can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
Sleep deprivation can affect brain function, too; it impairs short-term memory, decision-making skills, and learning ability. It also increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young children and long-term memory loss later in life.
Sleep is good for you!
The immune system is one of the most important systems in our body. We must take care of it by getting enough sleep each night. You are at risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease because your immune system is weakened due to the lack of therapeutic activity during deep sleep cycles. During these phases, cells repair themselves, and growth hormone is released into the bloodstream, which helps maintain a balance between all organs, including lungs, kidneys, etc. Without proper rest, your body will also be unable to fight off infections.