Blog Post

Sleep and its impact on the immune system

There is enough research that suggests there is a link between your sleep and your mental and physical health. However, did you know that the lack of quality sleep has a direct effect on your immune system making you more susceptible to catching colds and flu?

Now that we are in the season for sickness, one non-medical approach to keeping healthy is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. To help you understand the value of a good night’s sleep, here are three adverse effects you can experience if you don’t get enough.

1. You can become more susceptible to illness

Lack of sleep weakens your immune system. While you sleep your body releases proteins called cytokines. You need cytokines to help fight infection. If you don’t get enough quality sleep, these proteins decrease making you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria. Another complication of lack of sleep is that some of your infection-fighting antibodies and cells decline.

Once your immune system is in this weakened state, it can also take longer to recover from illness, so it’s important you think of sleep as part of your overall health plan.

2. Your body doesn’t perform at its peak

Our circadian rhythms are set to sleep at night and be awake through the day. However, if you are continually staying up late and depriving your body and brain of sleep, you send conflicting signals, and you can’t expect to perform at your peak. The chemicals released for sleep and wakefulness aren’t sure what to do.

The results can be everything from trouble thinking and concentrating, mood changes and memory issues, to poor balance, clumsiness and even a lower sex drive. A good night’s sleep is just as essential as a healthy diet and exercise. You will perform and feel at your best when your lifestyle is in sync with your circadian rhythm.

3. The risk of serious health issues can increase

There is a range of health issues that result from lack of sleep and your body not being able to perform at its optimal state. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can increase the risk of obesity. One reason for this is because Leptin and Ghrelin, two hormones that control the feeling of hunger and fullness are impacted by sleep.

Sleep deprivation can also increase your chances of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes with the increased release of insulin. This point alone should be an incentive to get more sleep – it’s a pretty easy and satisfying way to guard against these issues.

How much sleep is enough?

There are many guidelines on how many hours sleep you need and when you should sleep. However, it’s important first to understand that everyone is different. Most guidelines recommend 7-9 hours for adults while school aged children and teens need between 8-12 hours.

But what if you just can’t sleep?

For some, a lack of sleep is not a choice. Even after implementing all of the usual suggestions of having a comfortable mattress, creating a bedtime routine, putting away screens, minimising light and doing relaxation techniques, there is just no getting to sleep.

While medical intervention is needed on some occasions, thankfully there are natural ways to manage this including detoxing and essential oils that can help your body get back into its normal rhythm so you can get the sleep you need.

Not sure where to start? Contact Jen today to book a FREE 30-minute consultation. Just imagine how different you will feel in 30-days after giving your body a reboot!