Boost your immunity with better sleep

sleep for better health

Sleeping is proven to help boost your immunity as well as being linked to other health benefits, how does this work and what can you do to get better sleep and beat the bugs?

At Longbeds we have known for some time that sleep is very important to health, and whilst a good night’s sleep won’t necessarily stop you coming into contact with nasty bugs and germs, it is proven to help boost your body’s immune response.

Not getting enough sleep increases pain sensitivity, may increase the chances of developing cardiovascular problems and can have effects on the brain.

The Science of Sleep

Last year a team at the University of Tübingen in Germany discovered that sleep is linked to the functioning of the immune system. In the study paper — which now appears in the Journal of Experimental Medicine — the team explains that specialised immune cells called T cells are at the core of this relationship between sleep and the body’s defenses against infection.

When a foreign body like germs or a virus enters the body it is the T cells that contribute to the body’s immune response. Immune cells recognise pathogens and activate the proteins that allow the T cells to attach and respond to the threat. Whilst we still don’t know how these T cells activate integrins the scientists discovered that some gas coupled receptor agonists prevented T cells from activating the integrins and as such preventing them from attaching to the pathogens.

The gas coupled receptor agonists they found that would prevent T cells activating included two hormones (called adrenaline and noradrenaline), two proinflammatory molecules (called prostaglandin E2 and D2), and adenosine (which is a chemical that plays a key role in cellular signaling and energy transfer).

When we sleep our adrenaline and prostaglandin levels tend to drop, so the scientists trialed a group of subjects testing their T cells after sleep and without sleep. The T cells of volunteers who had slept well were higher than those who had stayed awake.

How can you stay healthy by sleeping?

Sleeping is proved to help boost your immunity as well as being linked to other health benefits so what can you do?

  • Nap – taking a mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon nap for less than 30 mins can help you get more overall sleep as well as helping with things such as anxiety and stress as well as boosting your immune system.
  • Remove devices from your bedroom, blue screens and TV’s can prevent you from deep sleep needed to really boost your immunity
  • Don’t drink too much before bed, this can cause you to need to get up in the night and disrupt your sleep
  • Get a comfy mattress, any aches or pains can disrupt your sleep as well as causing long term discomfort and injury.

Also check out our advice on sleeping apps and how to get to sleep.