Sleep to Perform – Defence Against Attack

We know that when we are ill or injured, sleep is the key factor in getting back to full health, Sleep and the immune system are closely connected.
The immune system is crucial to overall good health. Healing wounds, warding off infection & disease, and protecting against chronic and life-threatening illnesses all depend on the immune system.

Sleep and the immune system have a co-dependent relationship. Immune responses, caused by a viral infection, can disrupt sleep whilst on the other hand, consistent sleep boosts the immune system, allowing for effective immune function.
In both the short and long term, sleep deprivation can make you unhealthy & unwell. Numerous elements contribute to the intricacy of the immune system. An important element of our immune system is white blood cells. The white blood cell’s job is to identify, attack, and kill unwanted cells from our bodies, like a virus. Our immune system reacts in an immediate and learned way, allowing us to safely interact with our environment daily. 

Balanced Immune Response

When working right, the immune system maintains an intricate balance. When a virus or injury occurs, the immune system activates responses such as redness, inflammation, tiredness, fever, and/or pain.
The immune system has to be ready to find and attack potential threats, but there must be a balance so that the body is not always on in attack mode. Autoimmune disease is when the immune system can’t tell the difference between your healthy cells and virus cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells, this is where the balance may be off.
This is where sleep comes in. Getting enough sleep boosts a well-balanced immune defence that features strong immediate and learned immunity, efficient response to vaccines, and acute allergic reactions.
On the other hand, profound sleeping issues, like the sleep disorders, insomnia, sleep apnea, and circadian rhythm disruption, can hinder the healthy functioning of the immune system.

Sleep and Immunity

During our sleep routine certain areas of the immune system burst into life, one of the areas where sleep is known to massively help is inflammation. The reduction in inflammation seems to be triggered by sleep and our circadian rhythm, which is the body’s 24-hour internal clock.
When someone is ill or injured, this inflammatory response can help with recovery, especially in athletes,
the body will increase the chemicals to reduce inflammation, even when you’re not ill or hurt purely to boost the immune system.
In the same way, sleep can help the brain consolidate learning and memory, research indicates that sleep also supports immune memory. The way the immune system works during sleep strengthens the immune system’s ability to remember how to recognize and react to dangerous viruses.
It is suspected that this process only happens during sleep because of a few factors, the first being, the stages of sleep & their effect on the body as a whole, another is because the hormone released to promote sleep, Melatonin, also counteracts stresses that come from inflammation.
This whole process happens completely naturally & automated with our sleep cycle and circadian rhythm, so getting enough good quality sleep means our immune system can continue to take care of us.

How Can You Improve Sleep and Strengthen Your Immune System?
Now it’s known how important sleep is for the immune system, making sure you get a good night’s sleep is key, sleep hygiene is the best place to start & you can find out about that here.
Focusing on your habits, routines, sleeping environment, and even whether you have the best mattress for your requirements, Something we know a thing or two about!
People with chronic or severe sleeping issues should talk with a doctor. There may be an underlying cause. Relaxation practices, including yoga and tai chi, have favourable results in improving sleep while improving immune system function, including boosting vaccine responses.