If you have read any immune boosting articles, then you have read about the positive effects that the right amount of sleep can have on your immune system. There are many different things that happen in our bodies as we sleep that are beneficial for overall health and well being.
On the flip side of the coin, when you don’t get enough sleep it can actually lower your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick. We are going to walk you through some of the common questions that are asked when it comes to how sleep can effect your immune system.
Worried about Corona Virus? Head over to our post COVID-19 and Sleep to learn more.
Does Sleep Help Your Immune System?
Yes, sleep does help support a healthy immune system. While you sleep at night your body is in recovery and building mode. Allowing you body to store memories, recover and build muscles, detox your brain, and also produce and release cytokines.
What are crytokines? Glad you asked, cytokines are a type of protein that targets infections and inflammation. Both of which are vital to fighting off sickness. When you skimp on sleep, your body does not release or create more of these proteins, which can have a big negative effect on your immune system. Getting the proper amount of sleep also helps to keep your white blood cell count high, which is vital for a healthy immune system.
Face masks can help prevent the spread of illness. Head over to our DIY Face Mask Tutorial to learn how to make your own mask.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
If you are worried about your immune system and you’re trying to stay as healthy as possible, then now is not the time to take on that “CEO Sleep Schedule” where you only sleep 4 hours a night.
For the average healthy adult it is suggested to get around 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. While teenagers on average need around 10 hours of sleep a night. So if you can, be sure to let your teen sleep in or get to sleep early. While school age children on average need roughly need 10 hours of sleep per night with the addition of naps when possible.
Getting the right amount of sleep is vital for keeping your immune system nice and strong. So remember not to scrimp on it. Which leads us to our next question…
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Skimping on sleep even for a couple nights can really lower your immune health quickly. There are been studies that show when you skimp on sleep that your white blood cell count drops drastically.
Studies have shown that those who do not get an adequate amount of sleep every night are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus than those who do get the proper amount of sleep that are exposed to the same virus.
Since cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, it really effects you when you don’t get sleep. Not only will your body skip cytokine production, it will also resist releasing cytokines as well. Once again lowering your immune system due to lack of sleep.
Do Naps Count?
Yes, naps definitely help support your immune system and recovery. Although a full night’s rest is preferred. Napping can also be a great addition to a full night’s sleep.
We understand that not everyone can mange their schedule for a full nights rest. If you can, that is the best option and we highly suggest doing so. However, if you have a schedule that keeps you awake periodically throughout the night, then we highly suggest taking naps.
Although we would not suggest voluntarily staying up all night and then crash napping throughout the day. Having a set sleeping schedule is always preferred.
Does Sleep Really Help You Get Better?
Your mother’s advice to”Get some rest!” whenever you are sick is no old wives tale. Your body does indeed need rest in order to heal and get better. For all of the same reasons that rest helps keep you from getting sick is true for getting better.
Your immune system helps you fight off sickness, whether that is to keep yourself from getting sick in the first place or fighting off sickness after getting ill. When you get sick your body is in fight mode, which means the more you can reserve your energy to fight the sickness, the better.
Already sick? Head over to our post How To Sleep Better When You’re Sick in order to get more sleep when you need it most.
Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System:
Sleep is an important tool to keeping your immune system strong. However, there are many other ways to give your immune system a boost and keep your body healthy. The following are a few go to ways to keep your body working as efficiently as possible and keep your immune system strong.
- Stay Hydrated
- Eat Healthy Whole Foods (The more vitamins & antioxidants, the better)
- Stay Active
- Eat Healthy Fats
- Take Probiotics
- Manage Stress Levels
- Take your vitamins (C, D, Zinc, Elderberry, Echinacea, and Garlic)
Sleep and Your Immune System: Final Thoughts
Keeping your body as healthy as possible is the best way to avoid getting sick and fight off illnesses. Sleeping is a huge part of keeping your mind and body as healthy as possible and running effectively. So be sure to give your body everything it needs in order to fight against getting sick. This includes a good nights rest. Stay healthy!
If you have any lingering questions be sure to head over to our Contact Us page and send us a message. We would love to help out in anyway we can.