How Sleep Deprivation Affects Our Immune Systems
Trouble sleeping not only causes us to feel fatigued during the day but it can also take a toll on our health and weaken our immune system. It turns out that those who do not get enough sleep are more susceptible to colds and stay ill longer. Why? Because during sleep, our immune system produces cytokines, small protein molecules that combat viruses and bacteria.
Sleep disorders, frequent waking up at night and shallow sleep can all cause disorders in our immune system — making us more vulnerable to disease and virus attacks. Therefore getting an adequate amount of sleep is important for our well being; average adults need 7-8 hours of sleep while school-age children need up to 9-10 hours (although individual needs may vary).
Here are some tips to help you get to sleep and stay asleep during the night:
- Stick to a schedule. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Do not over indulge before bed. While it is important not to go to sleep hungry it is also crucial not to overeat. Have a light dinner at least 30 minutes before heading to bed.
- Relax. Before bedtime, take an aromatic bath, read a book or listen to music.
- Ventilate your bedroom – Experts agree that the most comfortable temperature for sleep is 65-70 degrees.
- Avoid sleeping during the day. If you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep then naps are not recommended as they may disturb your day/night sleep rhythms.