Sleep ~ A Support to our Immune System
Today, more than ever before, we need to be working hard to keep our immune systems strong. So besides eating well with antioxidants and immune-boosting foods, exercising, and spending time outdoors, it has been found that getting enough sleep is vital to fight off pathogens. Published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, it was found that the function of T-cells, the white blood cells responsible for combatting pathogens, was impaired after only three hours without sleep.
Basically, “T-cells circulate constantly in the bloodstream looking for pathogens. Adhesion to other cells enables them to migrate to different areas of the body and, for example, dock onto infected cells in order to subsequently kill them,” says Stoyan Dimitrov, first author of the study (which showed the adhesion of T-cells was significantly reduced in sleep deprived subjects).
“What we found was that the immune system functions best when it gets enough sleep. Seven or more hours of sleep is recommended for optimal health,” states Dr. Nathaniel Watson, Co-Director of the UW Medicine Sleep Center at Harborview Medical Center. In this study done by the University of Washington Health Sciences, it showed that for the first time chronic short sleep shuts down programs involved in the immune response of circulating white blood cells. Knowing that we are in the midst of a pandemic and it is so important that our immune systems remain strong, this is something we all can do ~ get enough sleep.
Last year I wrote a blog post with information about the connection between lack of sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease. (It can be found here) . One large study showed that when you have insomnia, you’re five times more likely to develop depression, and your odds of anxiety or panic disorders are even greater. Obviously, we all need to pay attention to our sleep routines.
I just recently received a guide for people looking to understand how their bedrooms/homes might negatively or positively affect their ability to sleep, what they can do to create a space conducive to quality sleep, and various other factors they might consider to improve their sleep from and I found it quite helpful.
Since adequate sleep has been found to be so beneficial to our health and well-being I wanted to share this additional information with you. I hope you will find it as informative as I did. Here’s to a good night’s rest!