The Connection Between Sleep and Your Immune System

If you do not sleep very well most nights, you may also struggle with your immunity. The link between them is not always obvious but it is a strong one.

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help keep your immune system healthy and can also be a factor in getting sick less often. It is not a magic cure to avoid illness but together with other factors, it can make you less susceptible.

Poor sleep can lead to a significant drop in the production of T-cells. These immune cells are part of an important team that helps your body fight pathogens, including viruses.

When T-cells come across an infected cell, they produce a type of protein called integrins, which attach to the infected cell and try to kill it. According to studies, integrins are activated to a much greater extent when you sleep.

Stress hormones also have the potential to affect the activity of T-cells and they tend to be lower when you are asleep. If you do not sleep well and your stress hormones do not decrease as they should, studies suggest it can be another factor in the link between sleep and immunity.

Improving your sleep hygiene is an important first step for improving your immunity and helping your body to fight off viruses, bacteria and other types of infections.

Top Sleep Hygiene Tips
✓ Make sure that you are in bed before 10pm.
✓ Sleep in a completely dark room
✓ Aim for 8 hours nightly
✓ Avoid light emitting electronics two hours before bed and wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening
✓ Create bedtime rituals that include relaxing practices such as sipping relaxing tea, taking a bath, light reading or stretching
✓ Increase natural levels of melatonin (the main sleep hormone) by taking magnesium before bed - This is the BEST one for sleep - Magnesium Breakthrough
✓ Keeping lights down after sunset helps to boost melatonin production
✓ Keep your room cool: studies show that 68°F is the perfect temperature for deep sleep