The relationship between sleep quality and immune health is incredibly intertwined. When we don’t get enough rest, we are more susceptible to illness and disease. Conversely, prioritizing time for sleep and recovery promotes greater vitality and health. Science shows that sleep is undeniably one of your best defense mechanisms for fighting off colds, viruses and other illnesses.
During sleep, the body produces cytokines – small proteins that have a fundamental role in communicating within the immune system and regulating various biological functions through signaling. Cytokines also target infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response to help fight off infections and illness (National Sleep Foundation).
When we don’t get enough sleep, the body produces fewer cytokines. Many studies show that insufficient levels of cytokines may significantly contribute to the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases (NCBI). Ergo, sleep loss can weaken your immune health and lead to a wide range of potential health concerns.
As the data shows, sleep deprivation makes the body less resilient. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for the immune system to fight off colds, viruses, diseases, and infections. (This is especially relevant right now as concerns over the spread of coronavirus continue to grow.)
Think of sleep as both a preventative measure and a prescriptive one. Remember that getting adequate sleep promotes the production of cytokines. These proteins help keep your immune system strong so that you’re better prepared to fight off harmful cells. If you do contract a cold, virus, or other illness, take the old saying “Sleep it off,” to heart. Rest will help reduce stress on the body and promote healing.
Your first line of defense for naturally keeping your immunity strong is to choose a healthy lifestyle. This includes strategies such as:
Regarding sleep, here are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the quality and quantity that you need to feel and function your best:
Remember that sleep can be preventative or prescriptive. So, even if you aren’t sick, it’s important that you get consistent, quality sleep every single night to keep your body healthy. In the event that you do get a cold, virus, or infection, rest is an all-natural and instinctive tool for your body to leverage to help reduce stress and repair itself.
Junk light exposure when traveling can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Long-term exposure to light at night which accompanies shift work is listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Light at night has shown to be highly associated with significantly the risk of hormone specific such as cancers of the breast and prostate.
The flickering wavelength of light associated with LEDs and compact fluorescent lights emit blue light that inhibits melatonin production but also create a unique glare that impacts your retina causing eye strain, headaches, and physical and mental fatigue.
Red light and darkness move leptin and ghrelin into patterns that are (context dependent) associated with less hunger, while blue light does the opposite and can move both into patterns associated with more hunger.
Increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, due to circadian disruption. Memory recall is impaired with consistent sleep deprivation and may leave you distracted and not performing your absolute best.
The Importance of Melanopsin Cells
Your body requires some blue light at the right time of day and from the right sources. That’s why we created TrueDark® Sleep Technology that gives you 24-protection from junk light day and night.
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