Boosting Your Immune System Through Sleep

 

 

 

The immune system, on the whole, does a great job of defending us against illness and diseases. When the immune system comes in contact with a pathogen, it releases antibodies, which attach the antigens (molecule that initiates the production of an antibody) to the pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease) and kills them. This response triggered by the Immune system is known as the Immune response.

Sometimes, the immune system falls short, and the immune response is weakened. A pathogen invades successfully, and we get sick. Science has shown us that we can intervene in this process and do things that boost our immune system. Getting good quality, restful sleeps is an excellent way to boost the immune system, to help keep ourselves healthy and fight off infections and diseases.

At The Sleepy Company, we're always talking about sleep - and we really couldn't say enough about the importance of good quality, restful sleep. Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. Lack of adequate sleep weakens our immune system, causing us to be more prone to infections, chronic inflammation, and illnesses, lowers our cognitive and memory function, and can lead to anxiety and depression.

So how much sleep does an adult need? Sleep requirements can vary, but anywhere between 6-10 hours is good enough, provided it is mostly uninterrupted sleep. However, this can be challenging when you have to wake up to tend to your child ever so often in the night. As parents of little ones, you’re understandably sleep deprived. We recommend checking out our article How to Get Back to Sleep After Feeding or Tending to Your Baby? for helpful tips on getting yourself back to sleep from your middle of the night wake-up calls.

Getting any amount of good sleep can be tricky when you have kids with ever changing needs, and as parents we often tend to put our own sleep last on the list. Yet, prioritising our sleep has never been more important. We need good, restful sleeps for our mental and physical well-being so that we can wholly be there for our children and the rest of our families who need us.

After you’ve had a sleepless night, try not to stress about it the next morning. A 30 minutes nap during the day can do wonders to reduce your sleep deprivation. We might think a little nap wouldn’t make much a difference to our sleep debt, but studies have shown that when we are dealing with sleep deprivation, our brain compensates by rendering naps more restorative than usual. Hence just one or two 30 minutes nap a day can entirely normalise your stress hormones and the immune system, which were disrupted due to sleep deprivation.

If you can't get yourself to nap, even just resting your eyes is better than nothing. In fact, if you are lying down with your eyes closed, you might even be asleep without realising it! It has been found in numerous studies that subjects who were awakened from the first stage of sleep often denied they were asleep at all. A nap that consists of only first stage sleep may not have significant health and alertness benefits, but it may make you feel less tired. And in the process of resting your eyes if you manage to fall into second stage of sleep - for even for just a few minutes, your nap will have recuperative effects.

For your baby’s sleep, ensure your baby sleeps in a safe baby sleeping bag, and is comfortably warm, not too hot, and not too cold. For toddlers who kick off blankets at night and wake up cold, our sleepsuits are the perfect blanket alternative to keep them sleeping safe and comfortably all night long, without you having to wake up to pull up their blankets for them. Check out our 4-in-1 365 Sleep Bags and X-TEND Sleepsuits which have helped countless babies and kids sleep better, meaning more restful sleeps for you and the whole family.

Wishing you and your family lots of restful sleeps!

 

 

Bibliography

Born, J., Lange, T., Hansen, K., Mölle, M., & Fehm, H.L. (1997). Effects of sleep and circadian rhythm on human circulating immune cells. Journal of Immunology, 158 (9): 4454-64.

Bryant, P. A., Trinder, J., & Curtis, N. (2004). Sick and tired: Does sleep have a vital role in the immune system? Nature Reviews Immunology, 4 (6): 457-67. https://doi.org/10.1038/nri1369

Cohen, S., Doyle, W.J., Alper, C.M., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Turner, R.B. (2009). Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169 (1):62-7. https://doi.org/archinternmed.2008.505

Lange, T., Perras, B., Fehm, H. L., & Born, J. (2003). Sleep enhances the human antibody response to hepatitis A vaccination. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65 (5): 831-5. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000091382.61178.f1

Spiegel, K., Sheridan, J.F., Van Cauter, E. (2002). Effect of sleep deprivation on response to immunization. JAMA, 288 (12):1471-72. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.288.12.1471-a

 

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