When it comes to your immune health, sleep can play an important role in how your immune system performs.
Getting too much sleep doesn’t seem like it will prevent you from getting sick, but too little sleep has shown to negatively affect a person’s immune system. Making sure you get good quality sleep during the winter months can help give you a better fighting chance against the cold or flu.
Cytokine Production and Sleep
The Sleepfoundation.org says that, without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are produced and released during sleep; if you aren’t sleeping you’re losing out.
The Sleep Foundation recommends getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep to avoid getting sick and staying healthy. Sleeping seven to eight hours a night will also help from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Naps are the Best
If you are a health care worker or work in a profession that works nights, long hours or odd shifts and you feel you aren’t getting adequate sleep then naps are the best next thing for you. The Sleep Foundation says 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 are unable to sleep for a half-hour during the workday, sleep for 20 minutes during your lunch break and another right before you eat dinner.
What Makes you Sleep
Good sleep is important to your health and immune health. If you find yourself having a hard time falling asleep, there are some tricks and things you can do to help you fall asleep.
Lowering the temperature in your bedroom can help you fall asleep.
Your body temperature changes and cools when you lie down. Setting your room temperature between 60-67 degrees could help.
Another way to help you fall asleep is by making your room completely dark and turning on some relaxing music. Research has shown that darkness boosts the production of melatonin, the hormone essential for sleep.