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There are many ways to strengthen your immune system. Tried and tested ways include taking vitamins (specifically vitamin c), getting flu shots, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly. But there is one thing that is often overlooked - getting adequate sleep.
In this article, you will discover the hidden wonders of sleep. Find out how it greatly affects and boosts your body’s immune system to act as a natural tandem in fighting against infections and diseases.
Sleep is just as important as taking your daily dose of vitamins. It can make or break how your entire body is going to function throughout the day. Getting not just enough, but quality sleep is essential if we want our body to function properly and stay healthy.
People tend to underestimate the power and importance of sleep. Adults, specifically, take it for granted. They come to think and feel that sleep is for the weak, that it is being unproductive.
Where in fact, taking an ample amount of sleep makes you stronger and productive. What they do not know is that poor sleep has both short term and long term health consequences.
Short term - feeling groggy the entire day, poor critical and analytical thinking, poor judgment, moodiness memory problems, to name a few.
Long term - increase inflammation, blood pressure, insulin resistance, cortisol, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease, as well as decrease blood sugar regulation.
Have you ever noticed how much time you spend sleeping when you are sick?
When it comes to your health, sleep plays an important role. While more sleep will not necessarily prevent you from getting sick, it can greatly affect your immune system.
Your immune system functions uniquely during your rest time; when it is not interrupted with movements, thoughts, and meals. For your immune system to fully do its job, it requires a lot of energy to power its activities, so it takes advantage when you are asleep.
Waking up feeling feverish, body aches, sore throat or congestions is a result that your immune system worked hard to defend your body while you were sleeping. That sleepy, exhausted feeling is just a sign that your body is working harder to help you get better.
When we feel tired and exhausted the whole day, so does our immune system that makes it harder to drive out germs which cause flu, colds, and other infections. So getting good and adequate sleep is like having an invisible shield that helps the immune system fight common sicknesses like fever, colds, cough, and body pains.
Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and now researchers from Germany have found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells.
The study found a new mechanism through which sleep can assist the immune system and help fight off infection.
Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study, told Healthline, “T cells are a type of immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example, virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells.”
T cells play an important role in the body’s immune system. So researchers compared T cells from healthy volunteers who either slept or stayed awake all night. They discovered that for those who slept, their T cells showed higher levels of integrin activation (positively affecting their immune system) rather than those in the T cells who were awake.
This indicated that sleep has the potential to improve T cell functioning. For people who get poor sleep, stress hormones may inhibit the ability of T cells to function as effectively.
Dimitrov said, “Stress hormones dip while the body is asleep. High levels of these substances might decrease the efficiency of T cell immune response to kill pathogens.”
Having enough sleep that is not less than 7 hours can make a huge difference and a big impact on helping your immune system to fight unwanted bacteria inside our body and to improve your overall health and well-being.
As research on sleep and immunity continues to grow, it has become clear that sleep deprivation puts your body at a disadvantage.
When you get quality sleep, you empower your body to use every part of your immune system to battle any incoming or present threat. Do not ever let your body head to the battlefield unprepared.
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