The relationship between lack of sleep and our immune system is not a simple science fair exercise – we require special attention to detail when discussing the complexity of the cellular make up in our immune systems.
Put in general terms, our immune system is made up of several types of cells and proteins that keep out foreign bacteria and disease.
Mitochondria are one of these types of protein scattered throughout the human body. When the body is sleep deprived, our immune system does not create enough T-cells and inflammatory cytokines incline dramatically. These two actions can potentially lead to greater risks of cold or flu development.
What Does It All Mean?
Simply put, sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system’s functionality. Long-term sleep debt can also increase your risk of weight gain, diabetes, and increased blood pressure. If you are getting 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep consistently, you will not run into long-term effects, but you need to make sure that you are getting quality sleep.
If you are receiving 7 to 8 hours of crap sleep, you may find yourself falling into sickness after exposure to a cold or virus where others may be able to fight off the possible infection. Make sure that you are also turning off your Smartphone two hours prior to falling asleep for the best quality. Electrical stimulation is one of the most prominent causes of insomnia in America today – try to stay away from excess stimulation at night.
The T-Cell and Internal Clock
The body has an internal time clock that works on two 12-hour shifts. One of the shifts is known as the light period and one is known as the dark period. With the body set for two 12-hour periods of light and darkness, there are a lot of moving factors in the cellular make up that may be affected if the body goes out of whack. One of these moving factors is the body’s immune system, which certain cells are intimately connected to this clock.
One of these cells, as explained above, is called a T-cell. These cells are the most important of the cells in the immune response because they are the ‘bodyguards’ of the operation. If a surprise attack is coming and your bodyguards are sleeping, than you’re pretty much screwed. That is what happens when you have sleep deprivation – your T-cells lose their ability to increase the immune response, leaving you defenseless.
Make sure that you are following your natural internal clock that has been developed through habitual training. When you are jet lagged, you know firsthand what it feels like to lose stability of your internal clock. If you are changing your internal clock, meaning that you are working all night and sleeping all day, make sure that you are naturally following the 12 hour cycles and gradually changing your sleeping cycle. The last thing you want to do is shock your body with a brand new 180 degree sleeping arrangement.
Get enough quality sleep at night and put down the technology!!
This article was written by David Holly. After years of dealing with sleep deprivation, David began learning everything he could about getting better sleep. Finally on a healthy sleep cycle, he uses his knowledge and expertise to help others combat their sleeping problems. He also is a professional writer for Saatva Mattress. To view more of his work, visit his Google+.