With the recent outbreak of the corona virus, you may be wondering how to boost their immune system. But did you know you can boost your immune system with sleep?
Boost your immune system with sleep
There are a number of ways we can boost our immune systems in order to be as healthy as possible. One of the most important is through sleep. Studies show that sleep-deprived people can have a suppressed immunity, which means they’re more at risk of catching viruses. They are also more likely to be sicker than someone else with a healthy immune system, who catches the same virus.
How does sleep boost the immune system?
When you’re asleep, your immune system releases proteins, called cytokines. Cytokines target infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. These proteins are both produced and released during sleep. This means that if you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t produce enough of them, which means your immunity is compromised.
Sleep also gives your body the time it needs to rest and repair itself, so you’re not running on empty all the time. When you’re sick, it’s important to get as much sleep as you can.
How much sleep should you get?
Experts recommend adults aim for 7 – 8 hours of good sleep each night, while teenagers should aim for 9-10 hours. School-aged children most likely need 10 or more hours every night. If you find it hard to get your shut-eye at night, napping may provide some benefit. Taking two naps of 30 minutes or less in the morning and afternoon, has been shown to reduce stress and offset the negative effects sleep deprivation has on the immune system. Just be careful that your naps don’t interfere with your night-time sleep.
What else can I do?
Of course, sleep is only one part of having a healthy immune system and guarding yourself against illness. Regular, effective hand-washing with soap and water, and avoiding people who are ill are two of the most important strategies. And don’t forget the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet, as good nutrition plays and important part in boosting your immune system.
Sleep better to boost your immune system
- Prepare your room — ensure your bedroom is dark, well-ventilated, and at the right temperature
- Eat sensibly — avoid overeating before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol and other stimulants— alcohol, tea, coffee, caffeine, nicotine and other drugs act as stimulants and will prevent you from sleeping well
- Relax before bed — engage in relaxing activities before bed such as reading, listening to music or taking a bath
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