Sleep & Immunity

Sleep & Immunity

Improved Immunity and Outcomes With Sleep During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Can lack of sleep make you sick?

Your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Enhancement of sleep during an infection is assumed to feedback to the immune system to promote host defense.

Lack of sleep could adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to infections. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep have:

Increase Risk of Infection

With Lack of sleep, you’re more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the influenza virus or a common cold virus.

Adverse Effect on Vaccination Responses

Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to mount an immune response.

Worst Infection Outcome

Lack of sleep affects how fast you recover if you do get sick.

Increased risk of Chronic Disease

Prolonged sleep deficiency (e.g., short sleep duration, sleep disturbance) can lead to chronic, systemic low-grade inflammation and is associated with various diseases that have an inflammatory component, like diabetes, atherosclerosis, and neurodegeneration.

Lack of Sleep Effects on the Immune System:

Reducing Antibodies and Immune Cells

Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

Decreasing Production of Protective Cytokines:

During sleep, our immune system produces and releases proteins called cytokines. Cytokines are a type of protective protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Sleep deprivation causes our body to make fewer protective cytokines.

How much sleep do you need to boost your immune system?

Good sleep is associated with reduced infection risk and can improve infection outcomes and vaccination responses. To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, you need quality sleep for the recommended hour of sleep for your age. Quality sleep will help keep your immune system in fighting shape and protect you from other major health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Adults

The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night.

Teenagers
need nine to 10 hours of good sleep.
School-aged children
may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

Also, if you have a lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep, you may have a sleep disorder, and you need to be screened by a healthcare professional.

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