Sleep: Importance and Function in Boosting Your Immune System

When we talk about overall health, sleep is always included as a part of the recommended ways to achieve recovery or prevention of developing illnesses. This pattern shows how powerful the role of sleep is not only to one particular condition but in general health speaking. Discover in this article how sleep contributes to one of the most important systems in the body - the immune system!

The Science of Sleep

During sleep, you are lying down and doing nothing with eyes closed, but the systems in your body are always busy working on what needs to be processed 24/7. While all sleep is not the same, here is a general overview of what really happens inside the body when you sleep.

The Brain’s Clock

Your body has several internal clocks called circadian clocks. These are what make the process called the circadian rhythm, which is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours. It affects every cell, tissue, and organ in your body and how they work. These clocks are in sync with the environment that surrounds you, which helps them determine when you feel awake or sleepy such as days, nights, food, and drinks you consume that contributes to these certain states. The central circadian clock which is located in your brain is the one that tells you if it is time for sleep.

Stages of Sleep

During sleep, the cycle goes into two phases: the NON-REM and REM sleep.

NON-REM

This first part of the cycle is composed of four stages. 

  • Stage 1: Transition between being awake and falling asleep. 
  • Stage 2: Light sleep, when heart rate and breathing regulate, your muscles contract and relax, and body temperature drops.
  • Stage 3 and 4: Both deep sleep stages. This is where your brain waves slow down.
  • REM

    During the Rapid Eye Movement stage, your eyes twitch and your brain is active, similar to those during wakefulness. Dreaming also usually happens during REM sleep. Breath rate increases and the body becomes temporarily paralyzed as we dream because the muscles become limp. 

    Why Is Sleep Important?

    As mentioned in the introduction, sleep plays an essential role in overall health and wellness, which is why it’s important to be mindful of how much sleep you need and get. 

    • During the non-REM sleep, your blood pressure and heart rate reduce. Your parasympathetic system controls your body and compared to when your heart works hard during wakefulness, it allows more rest during sleep. 
    • Various circadian clocks are the basis of the body when it comes to handling fat. Circadian clocks make sure that your liver, fat, or muscle is prepared to help digest fats at appropriate times. Sleep strengthens metabolism.
    • Breathing patterns vary greatly during wakefulness, depending on the activities you’re performing. During sleep, your breathing slows down and becomes very regular. 
    • Sleep also helps in dealing with thinking, long-term memory, and learning.
    • During sleep, your brain also works to cleanse. It clears itself of toxic byproducts that naturally accumulate throughout the day. 
    • Your body also releases growth hormones during sleep that work to rebuild muscles and joints, especially when they could have been used up and exhausted during daylight activities. 

    When do you know if your sleep is enough? The need for how many hours depend and vary on age.

    Source

    What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?

    If you’re one of those people who do not sleep enough for how much you need, you might have a higher risk of, but not limited to the following conditions:

    • High blood pressure
    • Stroke
    • Obesity
    • Migraines
    • Depression
    • Infection

    Sleep’s Function in Boosting Immunity

    Researchers say that sufficient sleep helps strengthen the immune system. A study from Germany has found that sound sleep improves immune cells known as T cells.

    T cells are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example, virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,” says Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study. This shows that by decreasing the activity of a protein called the Gαs-coupled receptor, T cells are able to work more efficiently. To know more about T cells, watch the video below.

    During sleep, levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and prostaglandins which are stress hormones are low so the stickiness of the integrins is stronger. This stickiness is important because this promotes the direct contact between the T cells killing virus-infected cells. 

    We are living in the digital era where most of us keep ourselves awake for too long, but don’t let this control your life. Your body is still your decision and during tough times like this, you have to focus more on getting a schedule that allows you to sleep well. Partner your good sleeping habit with our NAD booster supplement! It contains the ingredients that help boost immunity such as Astaxanthin, Vitamin C, and more as well as a fitting aid for people with sleeping problems.