Sleep and good health go together. You don’t feel well when you go without sleep. Even getting a few hours won’t be enough. Best case scenario, you wake up feeling groggy, irritable, and slow.
Unfortunately, that sensation is more than a feeling, and it could have a terrible effect on your immune system. As a result of the impact on immune system health, you may open yourself to chronic health problems, disease, and early aging. Let’s take a closer look at how sleep affects the immune system and beyond.
Relationship Between Sleep and Immune Health
Without getting too complicated, the immune system is composed of many different kinds of cells. Some of these cells may be harmful, which the immune system works to identify and kill. This is important as it relates to many facets of immunity. But to drill down into things further, the two most exciting parts of the immune system are integrin and “killer” T cells.
T-cells identify and kill harmful cells and invaders in the body, as mentioned. There are certain levels at which T cells are numerous and active. For example, studies have found that T cells are most numerous after a good night of sleep.
Of course, T-cells don’t act alone. One of their most important allies is integrin. Integrin makes T cells much more able to bind to the cells that they deem to be threats. This action of integrin has been described as “stickiness.” Without being sticky, T Cells can’t do their job. As you might have guessed if you’ve been reading this far, integrin is also most plentiful within the body after a good night of sleep.
What is Good Sleep?
Good sleep means deep sleep. This is the sleep that is undisturbed and most peaceful for the brain. It’s here that certain facets of the immune system spring into action. Other aspects of the immune system are most active during waking hours, but without a good night’s sleep, even the most productive waking immune activity can’t be at its best.
So how much sleep is enough? And how do we promote good sleep if it’s not something you’re accustomed to getting? Most adults need 8 hours of sleep, while teenagers may need 10 hours or more. You should generally go to bed early enough to allow for at least 9 hours of uninterrupted slumber. If you don’t need that much sleep, your body will likely wake up in the morning on its own. This will provide the body the opportunity it needs to get as much sleep as it requires.
How to Get More Sleep
If getting to sleep is a problem for you, you can make plenty of changes to help. Start by going to bed tired. The best way to do this is to get up sufficiently early and exercise to have burned most of your energy by the end of the day. Also, avoid the use of computer screens or the consumption of caffeine.
If you still need a little bit of help to promote healthy sleep daily, some supplements may help.
These products contain ingredients that are naturally sourced or natural substances made within your own body to promote sleep and relaxation.
- Melatonin 20 mg from Bio-Tech Pharmacal is a supplement that contains the naturally occurring hormone, melatonin. Melatonin is created in the pineal gland and signals to the brain when it is time to sleep. However, due to exposure to blue light or other activities, melatonin production may decline, and sleep is difficult to come by.
- TravaGen from NeuroScience contains a blend of ingredients important for mood and stress. This formula includes L-tryptophan to provide a gentler conversion to serotonin compared to 5-HTP. Use this formula in combination with healthy sleep habits to find the sleep you need!
- Theanine (SA508) from Thorne Research is a formula specifically meant to help modulate critical neurotransmitters involved in mood, focus, and memory. This supplement contains L-theanine that research suggests may promote relaxation, mental focus, and acuity.
Hopefully, these natural supplements work to help regulate your sleep, and by extension, provides your immune system with the support it needs to function at its best.