Immune System

Sleep & the Immune System

    Health science has shown that sleep is necessary for the development of immunologic memory, which is the ability of the immune system to rapidly recognize a toxin or pathogen that the body has previously encountered and to then initiate a corresponding immune response.

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that enables us to fight off harmful substances, bacteria, viruses, and cell changes that could cause illness. They are produced when we sleep and are critical for the healthy functioning of our immune system.

Important to this process are Cytokines, the protein that triggers the immune system to do its job. When sleep is diminished, fewer Cytokines are produced resulting in reduced capacity for the body to fight off infection.

It is also known that when sleep is limited, our body is less successful at producing antibodies. Antibody production is a process that also happens when we receive vaccinations (e.g. a flu shot), and it has been shown that sleep deprivation can render a vaccine less effective.

Health science has shown that sleep is necessary for the development of immunologic memory, which is the ability of the immune system to rapidly recognize a toxin or pathogen that the body has previously encountered and to then initiate a corresponding immune response. In addition, science has also shown that microglial cells, the most important in the central nervous system, are the first to respond when something goes wrong in the brain. It is known that microglial cells are active during sleep, attending to normal wear and tear. Without sleep, microglial cells have been known to fall into a state of slumber.

Just one night of poor sleep can impact your immune system and in turn increase your susceptibility to infection. If you’re committed to your health and to maintaining a strong immune system, you should pay attention to the duration and quality of your sleep. We can help.

references

  1. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology. 2011;463(1):121-137. doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0.

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