Getting enough sleep is important for your health. Both the quantity and the quality of your sleep are important. While you will not necessarily be able to avoid getting sick by getting more sleep, failing to get enough sleep can have a negative impact on your immune system. A lowered immune system can make you more susceptible to becoming ill. Here is some information about how sleep affects your immunity.
Cytokines and sleep
When you sleep, your body produces cytokines. These are proteins that target inflammation and infection that are important for a proper immune response. When you do not get enough sleep, you will produce fewer cytokines. These proteins are produced and released while you are sleeping. If you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, the flu vaccine will not be as effective because your body’s immune response will be reduced.
Get enough sleep
To remain healthy, you should aim to sleep at least seven to eight hours each day. This can help your immune system to remain at an optimal functioning level while also helping to protect you from other conditions that are related to chronic sleep problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. If you have an interruption to your normal sleep schedule, try to make up for the sleep that you have lost by taking naps. Researchers have found that taking two naps of 30 minutes each during the day can help to offset the negative impacts of sleep deprivation and to reduce stress. These naps should be divided between the morning and afternoon. If you are unable to take a nap during your workday, try to take a nap during your lunch break and a second nap after you get home before dinner.
Better sleep quality
In addition to getting enough sleep each day, you also should try to improve the quality of your sleep. Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks before bed. Stop using your smartphone, laptop, or other electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. These devices emit blue light that can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, which tells your body when it is time to begin preparing to go to sleep. Try to have a regular bedtime each night. Doing these types of things can help to improve the quality of your sleep so that you can wake up feeling more rested and ready to start your day.
Adopt other healthy practices
Getting enough sleep is only one part of boosting your immune system functioning. You should also make sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and avoid people who are ill. As long as you are not immunocompromised, you should also consider getting an annual flu vaccine. If you do end up getting a cold or the flu, you will recover faster if you get enough rest.
Contact Accent Sleep Solutions
If you have ongoing problems with sleep, you might want to schedule a consultation with Accent Sleep Solutions in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Jeffrey M. Phillips is board-certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and the American Board of Sleep Medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. We can help you to identify the underlying issues that are causing your sleep deprivation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 352.271.5375.