Improving your sleep is one of the most basic and effective ways to really boost your immune system to keep you safe during this respiratory infection season. Whether you’re struggling with sleep issues or don’t feel like you wake up refreshed and want to optimize your sleep, this video and blog is for you.
Immune System and Sleep
Making sure you are sleeping well is fundamental for your immune health. For example, there was a study done where people were purposefully exposed to the common cold virus and then tracked over a few weeks to see who developed symptoms and who didn’t. What they found was the people who slept less than 7 hours each night were 3 times more likely to get sick and develop symptoms compared to those who slept 8+ hours. What this shows is that even if someone was exposed to the virus, their body was healthy enough to fight it off without developing symptoms.
Sleep also impacts your immune system when it comes to developing immunity from a vaccination. For example, people who get the flu vaccine and don’t sleep well develop FEWER antibodies compared to those who sleep well and got the vaccine. Less antibodies means they’re more likely to get the flu, despite getting the vaccine.
Improve Sleep Habits to Improve Immune System
We know that sleep has a big impact on our immune system functioning optimally, so we have to ask ourselves… what is contributing to poor sleep? This can be broken into 2 main categories… basic causes and advanced causes.
The top three habits that hurt people’s sleep include:
- exposure to blue light at night
- eating too close to bed
- having an inconsistent bedtime and wake time.
In order to address these, you can purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses and wear them an hour before bed, avoid eating two hours before bed, and do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
My challenge to you is to pick one of those habits and begin implementing them as soon as you can.
The basic causes can really be addressed on your own. The advanced causes of poor sleep really should be addressed by a doctor as they are more challenging to correct by yourself. These advanced causes include hormonal imbalances like low progesterone or high cortisol, poor gut health, and chronic pain.
To learn more about our Interactive Health approach to personalized medicine and addressing any of those possible reasons for poor sleep, please give us a call at (425) 361-7945.
Dr. Scott Spiridigliozzi, ND