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.


The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.

13 thoughts on “How Sleep Deprivation Affects Our Immune Systems”

  1. Great site you have here. I love all the information on sleep and tips for sleeping better. I thought some of your readers who enjoyed the tips in this post might also be interested in a little process I personally use to fall asleep when I find it difficult to sleep.

    Step 1: Lay down on your back in a comfortable position with your head resting on a pillow. Have any blankets/sheets covering your body as you would when you fall asleep (because you will).

    Step 2: Breath slowly and a somewhat more deeply than you normally would. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth with your mouth being only very slightly open. This should feel comfortable and not forced.

    Step 3: Now, with your eyes closed, ‘Gently’ roll your eyes up as if you were looking straight up through to the top of your head and notice the muscles that control the eyes beginning to throb a little. As your eyes become so tired that you just want to let them relax, allow your eyes to go back to their normal position and relax them completely. Repeat this step 2 more times. Your eyes should now feel very relaxed.

    Step 4: Allow your breathing to become more relaxed and even deeper now as you begin to mentally scan your body starting at your toes and move slowly up your body. In your imagination, imagine your toes being filled up with a white energy that feels so good, so relaxing. Allow this energy to spread through your body as you mentally scan and relax it moving upwards into your feet, and into your ankles, and into your legs… slowly relaxing and allowing this powerful white energy to gradually move all the way up to the top of your head with each slow deep breathe you take. Doing this will leave your entire body feeling so completely relaxed… and your mind will soon follow your body because our “mind and body are truly one”.

    Step 5: Allow your mind to drift off as if you were day dreaming about something you enjoy. You’ll soon fall fast asleep.

    Sleep Well!

  2. I still love the information you give on your blog! Well done! I know I get sick much easier if I allow myself to go too long without enough sleep and sleep really is medicine for our bodies.

    I was also wondering if you would be willing to accept another guest post from my client at Please email me at givans1980 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Thanks. 🙂

  3. I do agree that power nap is not really advisable. Base on my research it only it creates difficulty in sleeping during night time. But I do believe that dinner should be eaten 3hours before going to sleep. This will head for better digestion.

  4. Getting enough good sleep is something that can be so hard in this day and age. Stress from so many things can inhibit that and I just loved your tips to help rectify this sad situation! I work from home so sometimes it can be hard to not nap during the day, but that has been something I have been working to cut out of daily routine.

  5. Of course, I actually have already heard it somewhere and it is definitely advised to get enough sleep for it affects someone’s body functions. However, it is just now that I know of it’s effect to our immune system, thanks for this post!

  6. It’s not just our immune systems that are severely impacted by sleep deprivation. Poor quality sleep really does knock you for six – it damages your weight control, concentration, mood, even longevity. And of course your immune system. More people need to know about these issues, so thanks for drawing attention to them here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *