Do you realize that your immune system and sleep are related? In addition to making you more active, getting enough sleep is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and immune system. Ever ponder how the sleep cycle operates? Humans have an internal clock called the circadian rhythm that regulates their sleep-wake cycle. Continue reading to learn some interesting facts about a good night’s sleep.

Benefits of a good night’s sleep

  • It is necessary for an individual to get around 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. A good amount of sleep can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Melatonin is proven to protect from cancer by suppressing the growth of tumors. People who tend to stay awake during the night have a greater risk of developing cancer as the light interferes with the sleep-wake cycle. 
  • Insufficient sleep causes stress and anxiety. This is because the blood pressure goes abnormal due to sleep insufficiency which also leads to the body producing more stress hormones. 
  • Sleep impacts all the chemicals in the body. It regulates brain function and keeps you active throughout the day. 
  • Insufficient sleep interferes with the hormones like ghrelin and leptin which is responsible for appetite. When there is an imbalance in these hormones it leads to obesity and unnecessary fat gain.

How does sleep boost your immune system?

The immune system is the complex network in the human body that engages in protecting the body against foreign particles like bacteria, viruses, and any infections. The immune system consists of two parts namely innate and adaptive immune systems. Innate immunity is an inbuilt immunity whereas adaptive immunity is acquired throughout a person’s growth. 

Sleep contributes to both innate and adaptive immune systems. A good night’s sleep increases the T-cells which are vital for fighting against invading bacteria and viruses. Our immune system cells detect foreign pathogens as soon as they enter the body and release a protein referred to as integrin. Integrin aids T-cells in attaching to foreign antigens and eventually destroying them. 

It was discovered that pro-inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins, as well as hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline, prevented T-cells from fusing with integrins. During sleep, the concentration of these stress hormones (adrenaline, noradrenaline, and prostaglandins) declines. Therefore, getting enough sleep increases T-cell effectiveness and enhances the body’s immunological response. 

What happens to your body when you don’t get a sufficient amount of sleep?

  • The ability to concentrate, think, and respond decreases. The human body is known to send memories during sleep to the brain. When there is no proper sleep there is a risk of short and long term memory loss.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation can cause depression, anxiety, and stress due to the chemical imbalance in the brain that is responsible to secrete vital hormones.
  • Insufficient sleep can cause low sex drive in people. 
  • Apart from heart attack and stroke, insufficient sleep can cause many health related diseases such as heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and diabetes.   
  • Lack of sleep can interfere with skin aging. It can cause dark circles and fine lines on the skin.