Blog at a Glance
- Research has shown there is an exact quantity of sleep needed to help an individual build a healthy immune system.
- Short sleepers are four times more likely to be infected by a common cold virus.
- Learn more about how you can improve your sleep and build a healthy immune system to help fight off infection.
Following on from our previous explaining the signs your immune system could do with some support, this week’s blog looks at one of the easiest and cheapest ways you can strengthen your immune system by improving your sleep.
Sleep Your Way to Healthy Immunity
Sleep is not only a highly restorative process but it also powerfully supports the immune system to do its many roles in the body. During sleep the immune cells circulate around the body, assessing for infection, removing toxins and defending the body from unknown substances.
Broken or disturbed sleep, not getting enough sleep or not getting quality deep, restorative sleep depletes the immune system and stops it from functioning at its best. This increases the likelihood of your body developing health issues or conditions and hinders your body’s ability to recover. This is due to the complex relationship between sleep, inflammation and the immune system. Research shows sleeping for less than six hours or more than nine hours a night triggers inflammation.1 Our body has to work hard to reduce high levels of inflammation and this suppresses some of the normal immune responses that are needed to fight off infection. Research has found people sleeping less than 6 hours a night the week before exposure to the common cold virus were 4.2 times more likely to catch a cold compared to those participants that slept for more than 7 hours.2
Strategies to Improve your Immune System Through Better Sleep:
Prevention is always better than the cure and improving your sleep quality and quantity is one of the easiest ways you can supercharge your immune system to help it fight off those circulating bugs. There are a number of easy ways you can use to improve your sleep and immune function including:
- Turn off your devices at least 1 hour before sleep time. Commit to a wind-down routine every night to encourage relaxation and sleepiness such as some simple yoga moves, stretching, meditation, reading or listening to some calming music.
- Keep your body temperature stable whilst sleeping. Depending on what climate you are in, you will need to wear cotton in a warm climate and soft merino wool in a cold climate. Create layers so you can adjust your temperature in the night if you need to.
- Take care not to have an air-conditioning unit or fan pointed directly at your body or pumping out cold air on your body. Keep your room at a healthy 22 -24°C or 71.6 – 75.2°F
- Make sure you are adequately hydrated before bed. Enough to help your body, not too much so you need the bathroom at night.
- Eat healthy foods before bed that doesn’t put pressure on your immune system. Research shows that eating cooked, hot, plant-based whole foods may be easier to digest and therefore less taxing on the immune system compared to cold, processed foods.
- Consider using therapeutic, natural sleep supplements to facilitate sleep. There is a lot of research to support the use of sleep supplements that enhance natural sleep phases and sleep cycles.
If you are struggling to sleep at night, feeling stressed or know your immune system could do with more support, try our SleepDrops Essential Sleep and Stress Nutrient Capsules. These capsules contain the effective nutrients needed to support deep, restorative sleep to help you manage your stress levels and strengthen your immune system while you sleep. Including scientifically researched nutrients that have been shown to improve your immune health such as Vitamin C, Magnesium, Zinc, Tart Cherry (our natural sleep hormone, melatonin) B5 and B6.
The perfect companion to strengthen your immune system while you sleep, take our SleepDrops Night Immune, scientifically formulated to provide evidence-based herbs needed to build a healthy immune response such as two forms of Echinacea and Elderberry.
Look out for next week’s blog on how sleep can enhance the effectiveness of vaccination.
Source: SleepDrops Research Team
- (2008, September 4). Loss Of Sleep, Even For A Single Night, Increases Inflammation In The Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080902075211.htm
- Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Alper, C. M., Janicki-Deverts, D., & Turner, R. B. (2009). Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Archives of internal medicine, 169(1), 62–67. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505