Can restful sleep help to strengthen your immune system?

Can restful sleep help to strengthen your immune system?

Everyone has heard that a good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Yet there are a number of people who are unaware why sleep is so important and how it actually helps their body and mind. 

One of the ways that sleep benefits people is by strengthening the immune system. The immune system is made up of different types of cells. One these cell types, known as T cells, have been shown to be boosted by restful sleep. 

Why you Need Sleep

Getting restful sleep each night is important, with children needing at least 12 hours and adults needing at least 7. In order to function properly, the body needs a good amount of regular sleep, yet many people consistently get less sleep than they need.

Less than the minimum amount of sleep on a regular basis puts the body in an unhealthy state, creating both short and long-term health issues for the body and mind, as well as preventing the body’s systems from working optimally.

The problems that arise from a regular lack of sleep include increased blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and more. On the other hand, consistently getting the right amount of sleep provides countless benefits such as heart disease protection, improved brain functioning, and an increase in T cell function, which strengthens the immune system. 

T Cells and the Immune System

T-Cells are very important for the immune systems fight against viruses. T-Cells do this by identifying virus infected cells and activating Integrins, a protein used to help kill  the virus.

Studies have shown that the T cells of healthy individuals who get restful sleep have a higher amount of the integrin activation protein that attaches to and kills the infected cells. On the other hand, lack of sleep tends to cause stress, which can actually prevent the T cells from functioning properly. 

With regular, restful sleep, the body works harder and is stronger in its defense against invading viruses. In a sense, the strengthening of the immune system is a strengthening of the body as a whole.

In order to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep, make sure your bedroom is comfortable, dark, cool, and without distractions. You can also increase your sleep length and quality with regular exercise as well as minimal caffeine and alcohol consumption.

 Follow good “sleep hygiene” to make sure that you are getting the rest you need. This will strengthen your body, your mind, and your immune system, keeping you healthy and strong.