While no two people handle sleep deprivation the same way, most feel extreme fatigue, experience difficulties focusing, and are easily irritated. Lack of sleep can make even the most mundane tasks challenging, especially if the deprivation has been over several nights, in addition to lowering immunity. Here, learn what effect insufficient rest has on the immune system and consider visiting an immunology center if your issue becomes chronic.
What Sleep Deprivation Does to the Immune System
The human body typically requires seven to eight hours of restful sleep a night for energy and overall wellness. Sleep is when the body repairs itself, which includes regulating hormones and healing damaged tissues. The immune system also needs rest to function at an optimal level and subsequently defend the body from assorted bacterial strains, viruses, and pathogens. Research suggests that when the body is sleep deprived, the immune system is compromised, causing T cells, or the white blood cells contributing to customized immune responses, to lower. As T cell count goes down, cytokines increase. These inflammatory proteins are linked to the common cold and bacterial infection susceptibility.
Sleep deprivation also interferes with the body’s ability to sustain a fever. Another type of immune system response, fevers always rise during the night to help the body combat a virus or bacterial strain. If this rise is interrupted by a lack of sleep, the body cannot fight the infection with the same power.
If you have experienced trouble sleeping lately and are feeling the physical, emotional, and mental effects, immunology experts suggest several ways to enjoy more restful nights. Avoid drinking too many fluids before bedtime, especially caffeinated beverages with stimulant ingredients, as you may wake up several times throughout the night to urinate. Don’t consume too much alcohol before bed, as it affects how much you sleep as well as rest quality.
Other tips for better sleep include refraining from heavy meals before bedtime, as the body spends time digesting food instead of focusing on rest and repairs. Also, avoid eating too much sugar, which like caffeine, has a stimulating effect. Avoid too much screen time as well.
Don’t let lack of sleep affect your well-being. If you’re still experiencing sleep issues despite making lifestyle changes, visit Integrative Medicine of New York, PLLC. The immunology center serves Long Island and New York City’s five boroughs, as well as the tri-state area. Specializing in natural cancer and auto-immune disorder treatments, this state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to helping patients achieve radiant health. Call (516) 759-4200 today to schedule a consultation or visit the immunology center online for more information.