Sleep And Immunity: How Sleep Affects Your Immune System
Sleep And Immunity: How Sleep Affects Your Immune System
Sleep is a very important factor for your well-being and overall health, but did you know it also plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system?
While we sleep, there are a lot of processes happening in our system and some of them are strongly related to strengthening our immune system. Some of these processes include the removal of harmful substances, the production of immune cells, and the release of cytokines.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our immune system can get weaker, and the danger of developing diseases and infection rises. According to some studies, people who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of getting sick after coming in contact with a virus than those who get a good night’s rest.
That is not the only problem that may arise from sleep deprivation. Lack of quality sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression. All of these conditions have an effect on the immune system while also increasing risk of infections and diseases.
Throughout this blog, our aim is to provide some information on how sleep affects our immune system and why healthy sleeping habits can have major benefits for keeping your immune system healthy.
Understanding the immune system
The immune system is responsible for protecting us from diseases and infections. To do so, it relies on a series of complex networks made up of cells, tissues, and organs that work in unison. These networks mainly function by identifying possible threats like viruses, bacteria, and abnormal cells, while developing protective strategies to deal with the threats. To further understand how our immune system works, we'll briefly explain the concept of innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
Innate immunity is a system that is present from the moment we are born. It is non-specific, which means it can respond to different pathogens in a general way. Innate immunity is the first line of defense.
Adaptive immunity is a system that develops as we grow older and is meant to protect us from specific pathogens. Adaptive immunity works through the production of antibodies that can recognize and bind to specific threats. It also involves the activation of T-cells, cells that can attack infected cells.
Both systems work together and are crucial to protect the body against infections and diseases. Innate immunity constitutes the first line of defense against general pathogens while our adaptive immunity takes care of more specific threats to aid the body to eliminate pathogens and prevent future infections.
How does sleep influence the immune system?
According to research, there is a strong correlation between the immune system and sleep. Getting enough quality sleep is important for the correct functioning of the immune system. While we sleep, our organism activates a number of processes that are quite fundamental to maintaining a healthy immune system. Some of these processes involve the production of immune cells, the release of cytokines, and the removal of harmful substances.
But that is not all, deep sleep is also important because it may influence different factors that, in turn, affect the immune system. We'll explain how sleep may have an impact on vaccines, stress levels, and the gut microbiome.
Sleep and immune cell production
A way in which sleep is strongly correlated with the strength of our immune system is in the production of immune cells. While we sleep, we produce immune cells that are essential to fight off infections and diseases. Among these cells we can find T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells.
All these cells have different functions and they all play a key role in our immune system. T-cells help in identifying and destroying cells that get infected with viruses or other pathogens. B-cells are another type of cell that focuses on producing antibodies to help against infections. Lastly, natural killer cells are a type of lymphocyte that also helps in identifying and destroying infected cells.
Studies have shown that when we are sleep deprived, there is a significant impact on our organism's ability to produce these immune cells. Research has found that people who don't get enough sleep have lower levels of T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells than people who do get enough sleep.
Cytokine release is another way in which the immune system is influenced by the quality of our sleep. Cytokines are proteins that are generated in response to an infection or injury. They are key in regulating the immune response and to promote inflammation.
According to studies, the release of cytokines in the body can be aided by sleep. Sleep deprivation can alter the production of these cytokines, which can have negative effects on the performance of the immune system.
Harmful substance removal
Sleep is also fundamental in removing harmful substances from our bodies. While we sleep, the glymphatic system becomes more active, and activates a process that takes care of removing waste products from the brain.
The gut microbiome and sleep
Another way in which sleep influences the immune system is by the effect it has on different body systems, the gut microbiome being one of them. The gut microbiome is made from a collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive system.
These microorganisms are allies of the immune system since they help to protect the body against threats while also promoting the production of immune cells.
Our sleeping habits can have quite the impact on the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is quite sensitive to sleep deprivation. Its composition can change when we don’t get enough sleep, which can have negative consequences for our immune system.
Stress and sleep
Stress can be quite problematic when it comes to the negative impact it can have on the immune system. This happens because stress can increase inflammation in the body, which in turn creates a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.
Getting enough sleep is critical for regulating stress and the production of immune cells and cytokines.
Vaccines and sleep
Did you know that sleep may also influence vaccination effectivity? Vaccines work by triggering the immune system to create antibodies for a specific pathogen. According to studies, getting enough sleep before and after getting a vaccine can increase its levels of effectiveness.
Research has shown that people who don't get enough sleep may have a weaker immune response to vaccination than those who get enough quality sleep.
The immune system and sleep disorders
Sleep deprivation can have a huge impact on the immune system, so sleep disorders are something to be aware of. Disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia can be quite disruptive to our sleep-wake cycle, and as a consequence they affect the production of immune cells and cytokines.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your breathing patterns as you sleep by partially obstructing your airways. This causes a decrease in oxygen levels, which negatively impacts the immune system.
Insomnia is a disorder manifested by a difficulty in falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to sleep deprivation and all the consequences this entails.
Both disorders affect the immune system by interfering with its correct functioning, making immune responses weaker.
Tips for getting better sleep
If you find it difficult to keep healthy sleep habits, try the following tips to create a routine that strengthens your sleeping schedule.
Create a sleep schedule and stick to it
Going to bed and waking up at the same time can have a lot of benefits for your sleeping schedule as it creates a routine that can become a habit overtime, allowing your body adjusts to that timeframe.
Relax before bedtime
It is important to relax before going to bed, so your body transitions slowly to a drowsy state that promotes sleep. Take a bath, read a book, or find an activity you find soothing.
Pay attention to your sleep environment
The environment you sleep in is of extreme importance for the quality of your sleep. Make your bedroom as dark as possible and make sure to reduce noise interruption as much as possible.
Caffeine and alcohol
Try to limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol during the day, and avoid consuming anything caffeinated or alcoholic for a couple of hours before going to bed. Both substances can interfere with the quality of your nighttime sleep, so keep them at check.
Regular exercise is also a good way to improve sleep quality if you are having trouble sleeping, but you should avoid exercising before going to bed.
Stress can greatly interfere with sleeping routines, so if you are prone to stress you should work on finding stress management techniques that promote relaxation.
Invest in quality bedding supplies
Another great way to improve the quality of your sleep is through optimizing your bed with the best quality supplies. At Mellanni, we pride ourselves in offering the highest quality available in the market and we highly recommend the following products to ensure the highest quality of sleep.
A quality sheet set can make all the difference when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, so we’d like to introduce you to two quality sets that won't disappoint.
Take a look at our Iconic Collection Microfiber Striped Sheet Set. This set is made with double-brushed microfiber and comes devoured with sophisticated dobby stripes that you can choose in an assortment of light colors. It’s soft as silk and will keep you comfortable throughout the night.
If you are not a fan of microfiber, we have a great alternative. Give our 100% Flax Linen Bed Sheet Set a chance. This set is famously breathable and the natural linen wicks moisture to help regulate your body temperature as you sleep. It naturally softens over time!
Let’s not forget that a sheet set is a great ally for your bed, but it is not the only bedding that needs attention. Pillows are almost as important as the mattress, and Mellanni knows how to take care of your head and neck.
Take notice of our Premium Bed Pillows to give your head and neck proper support while you sleep. They are extra fluffy while firm, making them an ideal partner for a good night’s sleep.
However, your full body can also benefit from adding pillows to the bed. We’d like to introduce our Premium Body Pillow to your collection. This lengthy body pillow is designed to provide proper support and comfort in any position you choose.
A firm mattress is quite important to maintain healthy sleeping habits, but sometimes it is hard to find the right level of firmness. Luckily, Mellanni offers a solution with its Microplush Mattress Pad. This pad is a great way to add more support to your mattress. It is manufactured with quilted squares that act as miniature pillows, providing the greatest level of comfort.
One last way you can change your sleeping environment for the better is by making it as dark as possible. Our Blackout Curtains are stylish and practical, they block out up to 99% of light and UV rays while reducing noise.
Sleep is a key factor when it comes to supporting and maintaining your immune system. Getting enough sleep is fundamental for keeping a healthy immune system that protects you and reduces the risks of developing an infectious disease. Take care of yourself by creating a healthy sleeping routine that will empower your immune system for a greater quality of life.
Don’t forget to check out the following products to protect the quality of your sleep and keep a healthy immune system:
- Treat yourself to the best quality sheet sets money can buy with our Iconic Collection Microfiber Striped Sheet Set or our 100% Flax Linen Bed Sheet Set.
- Use our Premium Bed Pillows and Premium Body Pillow to get an extra level of support for your head and body.
- Add an extra level of comfort and support to your mattress with our Microplush Mattress Pad.
Block out any unwanted light with our Blackout Curtains and turn your bedroom in the perfect environment for a good night’s sleep.