Get Plenty of Sleep
We know that to remain alert and function at our best, we need to get enough sleep. The od night or two of broken sleep is unlikely to do much long term damage but we’ll certainly feel groggy, tired and irritable, and we’ll probably make unhealthy food choices including copious amounts of caffeinated drinks and sugary foods in order to feel more awake and get us through the day.
But a chronic lack of sleep can be very detrimental to health. It can lead to chronic illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But not only that, a chronic lack of sleep can also lead to a weakened immune system.
Sleep experts recommend that all adults get between seven and nine hours sleep every night. Much less than this on a continued basis, and we risk becoming more susceptible to colds, flus, stomach bugs and all the other bugs seeking to sap our energy and make us miss work. And it’s all down to molecules called cytokines. Cytokines are proteins produced by the body as tiny molecular messengers that send signals to parts of the immune system to regulate the body’s response to diseases and infectious pathogens. They signal to the immune system that there’s a foreign body or invader, so that the immune system switches on the right immune response to fight it.
The body produces cytokines when we’re asleep, so if we’re not getting enough quality sleep, then the chances are, we’re also not producing enough cytokines to illicit an immune response when we need one. So do all you can in order to get enough sleep all night, to keep your immune system functioning well.