orange cat sleeping on white bed

Sleep and Immunity

If you don’t sleep very well most nights, you may also struggle with your immunity. The link between them isn’t always obvious, but it’s a strong one. 

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help keep your immune system healthy and be a factor in getting sick less often. It’s not a magic cure to avoid illness, but together with other factors, it can make you less susceptible. 

Let’s talk a little bit about why this is. 

Poor sleep means your body doesn’t produce as many T-cells. This is hugely significant since they’re immune cells that help your body fight pathogens, including viruses. 

When T-cells come across an infected cell, they produce a type of protein called integrins, which attach to it and try to kill it. According to studies, integrins are activated to a much bigger extent when you sleep.

Stress hormones also can affect the activity of T-cells and tend to be lower when you’re asleep. If you don’t sleep well and your stress hormones don’t drop much, studies suggest it can be another factor in the link between sleep and immunity.

Improving your sleep hygiene is a smart move to improve your immunity and help your body fight off viruses, bacteria, and other nasties. 

Tips to Improve Sleep Hygiene

It is public knowledge that a bedtime routine for kids is important. Well, It can be just as important and helpful for adults too! Not only a bedtime routine but a regular sleep and wake cycle following your natural circadian rhythm. Waking up around the same time and going to bed around the same time.  

How many hours should you sleep? This varies by age. Younger, growing children need more sleep, but it is safe to say that, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep will be beneficial for most adults. Some people like the idea of bed by 10 pm up by 6 am

My first question for someone who is having trouble sleeping is, when do you stop looking at your cell phone or the TV? The answer from most is, right up until they close their eyes. It might help if part of your bedtime routine is implementing an electronic curfew at least 1 hour before you plan to sleep. If this is the only time you have with a loved one and you like to watch TV, try wearing blue light blocking glasses. The blue light from the electronics sends messages to your brain that the sun is still up and that it’s not time to go to sleep! It delays the release of sleep-inducing melatonin and can throw off the natural circadian rhythm. 

For a super cozy night’s rest, make your sleep space a sanctuary. 

  • Remove electronic devices like TV and cell phones. 
  • Make your space as dark as you can by covering anything that gives off light. 
  • Make the temperature perfect. 
  • Spoil yourself with luxurious sheets and the coziest pillows you can find.
  • Keep your bedroom clean and dust-free. 
  • Run a diffuser with calming essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and cedarwood while you prepare for bed.

I know you love them; I love mine too… but you’ll sleep better if the fur babies stay out of the bedroom. If you think this is impossible, at least try to keep them out of your bed.  

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