Sleep and Your Immune System

Do you ever wonder what happens to your immune system when you sleep? Getting enough sleep is the body’s chance to heal and recover from illness. During sleep cycles, your body also works hard to protect itself by building up enough immunity to fight illness and disease. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, your risk for health issues increases. Here’s a look at how the immune system functions while you’re sleeping.  

Is​​ The Immune System Active During Sleep?

Your immune system is still active during sleep. If you sustain an injury or struggle with inflammation, the immune system uses sleep time as healing time.

When your immune system is optimally functioning, it creates a balance of healing and protection. As your system wards off harmful disease triggers, it also regulates its responses to foreign substances in your body. This means that it balances between offensive and defensive modes. Sleep is essential for proper function.

How Does The Immune System Work While Sleeping?

What exactly is the link between your immune system and sleep? Chances are you’ve heard and read that getting enough sleep is essential for health and wellness. Establishing good sleep habits gives your body a chance to rest and recover from your day. 

While you sleep, your body releases proteins that fight infection and reduce inflammation. Additionally, your white blood cells regenerate and boost your immune responses during sleep time. Consistent sleep patterns will balance your hormone levels and maintain a healthy immune system. 

Do Sleeping Pills Lower Your Immune System?

Some people take sleeping pills if they struggle with insomnia, anxiety, or depression. While this may help for a few nights, there are harmful long-term effects. Sleeping pills can lower your immune system and prevent it from fighting illness. Studies also show that certain sleeping pills can increase your risk of heart disease and pneumonia. People who already struggle with low immunity are more at risk for these health conditions.  

Does Lack Of Sleep Lower Your Immunity?

There are several factors that can lower your immunity. Poor nutrition, little exercise, and stress are a few common factors that affect your health and wellness. A lack of sleep also lowers your immune functions, since sleep time is the best time for recovery. 

Sleep is essential for your body to recover from illness and fight disease. Many people can suffer long-term effects from a chronic lack of sleep. Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can all result from sleep deprivation. 

Does Your Immune System Weaken At Night?

It is a common myth that your immune system weakens at night. People may believe this myth because they feel tired or feel the onset of cold symptoms at night. However, if you’re feeling tired or sick at night, it’s not because your immune system is weakening. It’s actually doing the opposite. 

During the day, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone helps regulate blood sugar, growth, and metabolism. So while the body releases cortisol, your white blood cells are resting. At night, cortisol levels drop, and your white blood cells start working overtime to protect your body from illness and sustain your immunity. This explains why you may feel more fatigue when your body is at rest. 

How Can I Strengthen My Immune System?

Now that you know the important role that sleep plays in your immunity, how can you work toward a strengthened immune system? The good news is that you are probably doing several of these things without knowing it. Here are a few important ways to strengthen your immune system. 

Use Food As Fuel

A healthy immune system needs healthy food to maintain proper function and fight infections. Research shows that eating certain foods can boost your immunity and reduce disease. Foods that contain micronutrients are the best ones that help immune function. 

Dark, leafy green vegetables are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, which help fight infections with their antioxidant properties. If you’re not a fan of eating vegetables, add a multivitamin to your diet. 

Add Herbs and Supplements

Adding a daily herbal supplement to your health regime can boost your immune system. Supplements can also help with energy and focus. It’s best to choose a whole food vitamin to make sure that you’re getting enough micronutrients in your diet. 

Reduce Stress

Everyone deals with stress differently. Some people become overwhelmed in stressful situations, while others handle them with ease. Since stress can lower your immunity, it’s important to pay attention to your emotions so that you can manage your stress levels. 

There are ways to determine your stress triggers. Meditation and breathing techniques are helpful in slowing the mind and body so that you can focus on your health. 

Make Lifestyle Changes

Your immune system’s job is defending your body against viruses and diseases. Taking steps toward better health can keep it functioning properly. 

  • Avoid smoking - increases your risk of heart and lung disease
  • Keep a healthy weight - obesity stresses your organs
  • Increase fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Begin an exercise regimen
  • Form good sleep habits

These are just a few helpful lifestyle changes that can boost your immunity and ward off disease. 

Is Sleeping Good For A Virus?

While sleeping may not seem like you’re doing anything, getting enough sleep is vital for your health. You won’t always know when your body is fighting germs and toxins. Sleeping is a good way to fight a virus and other types of illness. Most people who suffer from a lack of sleep also struggle with common colds and other chronic illnesses. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s not too late to establish better sleep habits. 

Can Sleep Help Your Immune System Fight Off Infection?

We mentioned earlier that the job of your white blood cells is fighting infection and disease. Research shows that another set of cells, T cells, fight pathogens that cause specific types of disease. HIV and cancer are examples of autoimmune diseases that attack your white blood cells and lower your immunity. Data from these studies showed that people who get enough sleep have more T cells as opposed to those who slept less. Strong T cells help your body fight more infections and maintain immune function. So, getting enough sleep does help you fight infection.  

How Do I Know If My Immune System Is Strong?

We’ve learned several ways to boost your immunity, but how do you know if you have a strong immune system? Many people wonder about this around cold and flu season when they’re trying harder to stay healthy. The best way to know if your immune system is strong is to take the steps important to maintaining strong immunity. 

Increase Your Antioxidants

Eating a healthy diet can help destroy the free radicals that build up in your body. Exposure to free radicals results from environmental toxins, eating certain foods, and smoking. 

Boosting your immunity with antioxidant foods and vitamins can increase your cellular health, which boosts your immunity. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc are a few vitamins and minerals that contain high antioxidants. 

Prioritize Sleep Habits

Sleep habits are absolutely critical for strong immunity. Develop a bedtime routine that will promote better sleep. Getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night will allow your body time to rest and prepare for the next day. If you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, make sure you get more sleep.