The Link Between Sleep And A Strong Immune System

Whether you’ve made changes in your lifestyle by eating a healthier diet, hydrating and exercising regularly, you may be one of the millions of Americans that fail to get adequate sleep. Many people even pride themselves in burning the candle at both ends. What they and millions of others don’t understand is the connection to sleep and strong immune system. Lack of sleep can also cause other health issues, too.

When you sleep, your T-cells create cytokines.

Cytokines are a protein that responds to infection and inflammation, providing a stronger immune response. When you sleep, they’re not only created, they’re also released, so your immune response is doubly compromised. Without them, you’re leaving yourself open to seasonal flu, colds and other diseases. In fact, they also make flu vaccines less effective.

In order to kill a virus or cancer cells, you need more sleep.

When you’re under stress, hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline are created. These hormones and pro-inflammatory prostaglandins prevent T-cells from sticking to cancerous cells and cells that are infected with a virus. The T-cells need to be able to stick to the cells to do their job as part of the immune system. When you sleep, levels of those hormones are lowest, allowing the integrin stickiness to occur, and providing more direct contact with the T-cells to boost your immune system.

Sleep helps you eat healthier and maintain weight.

If you’re overweight, you’re far more susceptible to many diseases, even some that don’t possibly seem related, like viruses. When you skimp on your hours of rest, it affects your hormone balance of leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. Lack of sleep suppresses the leptin and increases the amount of ghrelin, so you’ll eat more. Of course, the more you eat, the more weight you gain. To make matters worse, people who lack sleep often reach for sweet treats for instant energy. Refined or added sugar also compromises the immune system.

  • You need at least seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, if not more. Lack of it triggers a stress response and the release of hormones that can negatively affect your health.
  • The quality and quantity of sleep changes as you age. The older you get, the less rested you may feel, even after a full eight hours.
  • If you sleep less than seven hours of sleep for three consecutive nights, it affects the body as badly as missing an entire night’s sleep. Even reducing your sleep to five hours a night regularly, increases your risk of dying.
  • Chronic lack of sleep can cause insulin resistance, increase levels of cortisol, encourage weight gain, inhibit blood sugar regulation, increase inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

Leave a Reply