General Well-being

These are stressful times. We are all worried about the outcome of the next few weeks. The one thing that we can do is be pro-active about our health. Follow the CDC guidelines in washing your hands, staying out of large groups and most important we need to take care of ourselves. That’s eating healthy, getting a good nights sleep and taking care of our bodies.

We wrote earlier about the impact of stress on our immune system. Stress also impacts the amount of sleep we get which can also have a detrimental impact on the ability of our immune system to fight viruses.

A lack of sleep also makes you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, meaning you might be more prone to catch a cold or flu when you’re sleep deprived.

Over the last 15 years, research following a systems approach of neuroimmunology has accumulated surprisingly strong evidence that sleep enhances immune defense, in agreement with the popular wisdom that ‘sleep helps healing’.

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Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.

Recent research indicates that poor sleep will over time lead to increased inflammation in the body, because lack of sleep causes a drop in the production of molecules that counter inflammation.

Even if you are only slightly sleep deprived, your body is likely to activate certain parts of the immune system responsible for autoimmune flare-ups. This effect is especially strong in women.

Sleep helps the body redistribute energy resources that are primarily used for brain and muscle work to the immune system. During sleep, the immune cells get out of the circulation, settle in the lymph nodes, and start getting ready for the next day of work.

Sleep creates a unique constellation of immune system and hormones. These are helpful because the active immune system is energy-dependent, and changes in hormone levels during sleep enable your body to take extra energy from the muscles and utilize it for building up and maintaining a healthy immune system. 

Are you one of many people that occasionally has problems sleeping? You should know that Melatonin is important for your body’s sleep cycle and supports restful sleep patterns.

Studies show promise for the use of melatonin in shortening the time it takes to fall asleep and reducing the number of awakenings and is a natural way to assist your body in regulating your sleeping patterns as well as a tremendous anti-oxidant that boost your immunity while you sleep.

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