How sleep helps your immune system

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It's not surprising that good sleep equals good health. Your immune system is the CEO of your health and when it doesn't get the rest it deserves, it starts unleashing a hostile corporate take over. Your body becomes a battle ground and it looks like the baddies AKA viruses and bacteria are at an advantage. Here's why.

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1. Stress hormones flood your body

Cortisol which is needed to save your life in highly stressful moments  turns on your body's inflammatory processes. Short-term inflammation is helpful (like if your arm is cut off), but long-term your body does not function well when it is hot, red and swollen. It becomes vulnerable which means more chance of damage and infection.

2. Your immune system's soldiers take a hit

Your immune system makes fighter soldiers while you sleep. Poor sleep means fewer soldiers made which means more opportunity for the baddies to attack... and win. It's no wonder that the less you sleep, the more episodes of colds and flu you will have and the more sick days you will have to take from work...or worse... precious weekends.

3. Your body forgets how to have a fever

A higher than normal temperature is your body's way of killing infections which cannot survive at this higher temperature. But miss your Zzzzzzz and your body battles to co-ordinate a fever when it is needed. This means those soldier cells are fighting in cold, dark trenches giving the baddies another advantage.

4. Your gut takes a knock

Your immune system (which is found largely in your gut) will not enjoy the lack of sleep or the resulting battle. You will know you have been unkind and not had your needed 7.5 hours as you will feel gassy and nauseous and soon may develop diarrhoea or constipation. Your digestive system has not had the time it needed to digest your food properly which means less nourishment for every cell in your body. Again, putting your immune system at a disadvantage.

So be kind to your body and fight for your sleep. It's the best way to ensure both your quality and quantity of life.


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