Yep, lack of sleep can effect your immune system!
Your body has an AMAZING built-in system to help you kill viruses, bugs and other nasties that can make you sick. Your immune system works hard for you 24/7!
But the truth is, to function at its top capacity it needs some help from YOU to do its job.
One of the best things you can do to help your body is to get enough sleep! I’m talking about 7-8 hours a night of quality sleep.
Studies show that it doesn’t take much for your immune system to start feeling the impact of too little sleep – both in how much sleep you get and how “efficient” you are at sleeping (how much time you actually sleep).
In one study that looked at how our immune system responds to sleep, scientists made people they were studying stay awake from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., and when they tested their blood they found that their immune “killer” cells were less active than normal – and some cells remained less active even after a night of recovery sleep!
Another study actually infected people with the cold virus to see whether they came down with it. Researchers had 153 men and women (age 21 to 55) record how long and how well (scored as “sleep efficiency”) they slept for a total of two weeks, and also whether they felt rested.
Then, they were quarantined and given nasal drops containing the cold virus. The researchers monitored them to see whether they were getting a cold, starting the day before they were exposed to it, and then for 5 days after.
People who got less than 7 hours of sleep were almost 3 times more likely to get a cold than people who got more than 8 hours of sleep!
Plus, those who scored lower in sleep efficiency (sleep quality) were 5.5 times more likely to get a cold than people who slept better (98% efficiency).
Isn't it amazing how quickly our bodies can be affected when we don’t get enough rest?
There are other things you can do to avoid colds (importantly: wash your hands and don’t touch your face!). But making sure you get enough quality sleep – even if you feel rested! – can help you stay healthy in a big way.
So many times, sleep ends up at the bottom of our list when we are thinking how to improve our health. But if you can get THIS one down, I think you will find a lot of the other health goals start to happen sooooo much easier.
Just saying. ;-)
Have an awesome day!