Have you ever noticed how when you’re not feeling well, people suggest that maybe you should get some rest? It’s a natural instinct to sleep more when you’re sick and rundown and science says there’s a good reason for it. Getting a good night’s sleep can have a positive impact on your body, making it easier to fight off infections, viruses, and other health issues. In fact, sleep is directly tied to your immune system and getting enough sleep will benefit your health in some surprising ways.
Lack of Sleep and the Immune System
Sleep is vital to your physical health and well-being, in particular, it helps boost your immune system. When you sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night, it can have a dramatic effect on your body’s ability to fight disease. A busy work schedule, family and social obligations, and the stress that’s associated with them can make it difficult, however, to get enough sleep. In turn, your immune system cannot function properly, putting you at higher risk for illnesses.
Can Sleep Deprivation Really Make You Sick?
Studies show that people who do not get regular sleep are at higher risk for illness after coming in contact with a virus such as the common cold or flu. This is due to the reduction of beneficial proteins that reduce inflammation and fight infections. In addition, lack of sleep is a major contributor to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The less you sleep, and the lower your quality of sleep is, the higher your risk factors for these debilitating diseases and conditions.
How Sleep Boosts the Immune System
When you get enough sleep, your body produces T-cells, which are a central part of the immune system. These unique cells are directed to your lymph nodes where they play an important role in warding off infections, viruses, and bacteria that can cause you to become ill. In fact, T-cells can actually kill cells that are infected, so they cannot multiply or infect other cells, thus keeping you healthier.
Your body also produces special proteins called cytokines during sleep, which are vital to your body’s functions. Some cytokines help stimulate blood cell production and the development and repair of your tissues. As chemical messengers for T-cells, they help reduce inflammation, and they regulate your immune system’s response to disease and infections.
A Strong Immune System Is Essential
Every day, you’re exposed to a myriad of germs, bacteria, and viruses as you go about your daily routine. If your immune system is strong, it can easily fight off these invaders so that you don’t get sick. While eating a proper diet, getting plenty of exercise, and practicing good hygiene practices help, they aren’t enough to protect you completely. When combined with quality sleep on a nightly basis, however, these simple techniques can help build a strong immune system that resists illness.
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night, if your sleep is interrupted, or if you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, the good news is there are some things that you can do about it. Not only will you wake up more refreshed and alert, but you’ll also improve your body’s ability to fight disease and infection. Some simple ways to ensure a good night’s rest include:
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Make a Sleep Schedule
One of the simplest ways to get a better night’s rest every night is to stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning. Although it may be tempting to sleep in on the weekends or your day off, a sleep schedule will keep you healthier and you’ll feel more rested.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule, making it difficult to relax properly. Instead of watching or reading the news, or talking about stressful events in your life, try simple deep-breathing exercises and quiet time to reduce your stress. Not only will you sleep better, but you’ll also feel more empowered the next day.
Getting a good night’s sleep begins early in the day with plenty of exercise. Not only does exercise burn off excess energy, it can also help reduce stress and make it easier to relax. Avoid exercising in the evening before bed, instead get out in the morning or early afternoon to workout.
Avoid Stimulants and Alcohol
It’s nice to have a nightcap or a hot cup of coffee to relax in the evening, but be careful. Both caffeine and alcohol consumed too close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. The same holds true for spicy or sugary foods and nicotine. Limit your consumption of these items to several hours before bed for better sleep.
Turn Off Electronics
Bright lights from your television, laptop, tablet, or smartphone excite your brain and tell your body to stay awake. Rather than staring at a screen until bedtime, turn off the electronics and read a book, listen to soft music, or just meditate quietly. You’ll notice a fast improvement in the quality and length of your sleep.
Get Your Room in Order
Your bedroom should be a place of quiet relaxation. Use light-blocking curtains or blinds to darken your room, make your bed with soft, comfortable sheets and blankets, and get a good pillow. Turn down the heat at night so that the temperature doesn’t rise above 67 degrees for maximum comfort and high-quality sleep.
Change Your Mattress
A lumpy old mattress won’t help you get the sleep you need. Since you spend at least 8 hours a day in your bed, it only makes sense to have a good mattress that’s not too hard or too soft. Experts advise that you should change your mattress every 6 to 8 years to ensure its comfortable enough for you to sleep well.
Sleep Better and Boost Your Immune System
At No Bull Mattress, we understand how important sleep is, and we’re committed to helping you get the best sleep you’ve ever had. Our selection of mattresses cannot be beat, our prices are better than you can imagine. Contact us to learn more about how getting great sleep can boost your immune system, help you feel better, and improve your mood.