I don’t need to tell you just how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Without it, you will feel tired, irritable, have a lack of clarity and focus and become forgetful. You will also find it extremely difficult to cope with any elevated stress. Everyone suffers from a distinct lack of sleep at some point in their lives but it would seem that not being able to sleep can have a very real and detrimental effect on your immune system. If your immune system is not fully functional, then it makes it much more likely that you will catch colds or a virus of some description.
The old wives tale that states you may get run down and ill without sufficient sleep may well be based more on science than speculation after all. Your immune system is not just linked to increasing your potential to stay well; it is also relevant to how you fight back against your virus if you eventually do become ill. It’s a complex system that is under threat consistently. When you are feverish, your fever will rise through the night and if you are able to sleep throughout, it means that the response and subsequent battle against the fever is increased dramatically. If sleep is invasive however, your body struggles to fight against the illness in the same way. Your immune system can become suppressed when you become deprived of sleep for any length of time and therefore, fewer antibodies are developed.
Some people need more sleep than others, most people function well on seven to nine hours a sleep but you will soon know just how much you need to sleep personally because you will not feel able to cope in the same way with the pressures of day to day life. Fortunately for most people, a lack of sleep is isolated but for those who suffer from insomnia, it’s important to change how you approach your bed-time and to develop a good sleep pattern once more. Sleep is absolutely fundamental to good health and without it, your ability to function is greatly impaired.
If you are not getting enough sleep and are feeling run down as a result, it is important to ask yourself why. It might be that you have not set up a good sleep hygiene or have disrupted your routine and therefore, eradicated your former sleep pattern. If this is the case, it’s time to develop and improve it starting from earlier in the evening so that you are naturally winding down as it nears your bedtime.
Avoiding drinking alcohol or watching television prior to going to bed is useful and if you smoke, you are likely to damage the first line of defence in your mouth and nose and therefore, will be more susceptible to illness. Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks in the evenings too as this can make you mentally alert and less tired in the short term.
It can really also help to practice meditation or listen to calming music when you go to bed so that your brain associates this practice eventually with relaxation and sleep. Stress can impact your immune system too but if it also impairs your sleep then it’s vital that you really consider how to deal with any problems that you have in your life. Once your immune system is under threat and you have lost your clarity and focus through a lack of sleep, you will find that you will also struggle to manage stress and it becomes a vicious cycle.
Sleep is the best way that you have of recharging your immune system and of keeping you healthy. Without this regular opportunity to recharge your batteries, you can increase your potential to develop conditions such as diabetes or depression. A healthy diet –including fruit, vegetables and grains will help to boost your immune system enabling you to fight off the common conditions but to be truly healthy, having sufficient sleep levels is paramount.