There are countless ways to support a strong immune system, but one of the most impactful (yet often overlooked) is a good night's sleep. Today, I wanted to share specifically just how sleep can benefit your immune system as well as some tips on how to consistently sleep better. Below are a few stats on the relationship between sleep and the immune system:
Researchers have found that sleeping 6 hours or less makes you 4x more likely to catch a cold compared to those who sleep 7+ hours a night. Along with this, every hour of sleep lost continues to raise the risk of contracting an illness.
Although the immune system is working around the clock, sleep presents an opportunity for the immune system to work without the interruptions of eating, moving, or critical thinking tasks. Getting enough quality and quantity of sleep allows the immune system to fight at full force for as long as possible.
Boosts the effectiveness of T-cells - These are the fighter cells who respond to pathogens, T-cells utilize sticky proteins called integrins to attach to pathogenic cells and destroy them. Studies have found that individuals who sleep more have higher levels of integrin activation compared to individuals who sleep less or who sleep poorly.
Cytokines are another type of protein that act as messengers for the immune system, alerting the forces that pathogens are present and calling the troops to action. These proteins are critical to a swift and effective immune response. The catch? They are only produced and released during sleep.
Now we’ve arrived at the million-dollar question - How do I get better sleep? Well, I’m so glad you asked because I have several impactful tips that will dramatically transform your sleep when applied consistently.
Stop eating 3 hours before sleep - The stomach takes roughly 3 hours to empty itself after a meal and guess what? Digestion requires a lot of energy consumption. Eating right before bed can cause indigestion, GERD, acid reflux, and more. These gastrointestinal symptoms can, in turn, disrupt a deep sleep pattern.
After sunset, reduce or eliminate all blue light exposure - I know this sounds tough, but our brains are wired to produce certain hormones at certain times of the day depending on the light outside. When the sun sets, but we are still staring and cell phone screens, tv screens, and bright LED lights in the house, we are sending our body signals that it is still daytime. As a result, our body does not trigger the production of “sleepy” hormones like melatonin.
Keep sleep and wake times the same - Yes, even on weekends. The more regular your sleep pattern, the more your body will naturally create the right hormones at the right time to sleep deeply and awake refreshed.
Consider taking a sleep supplement that includes natural ingredients like Valerian Root, Melatonin, and L-Theanine. Patients absolutely love our 4 Sleep Supplement which includes a gentle and natural blend of Magnolia Bark Extract, Passionflower Aerial Powder, Hops Extract, Lemon Balm Extract, Valerian Extract, L-Theanine, Lavender Extract, and Melatonin.
Creating better habits to improve sleep quality is one of the single most impactful changes any individual can make for their health. Far too many of us take these precious hours of healing for granted.