Sleep Deprivation and the Immune System

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Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2020 at 6:43 pm    

Getting enough sleep at night isn’t only important for feeling productive and clear-headed during the day. There is also a link between sleep and your immune system, according to Diwakar Balachandran, MD, director of the Sleep Center at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Balachandran says studies show that sleep deprivation can make your T-cell count lower, thus making you more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. 

Additionally, according to John Park, MD, a pulmonologist who specializes in sleep medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., sleep deprivation also has negative impacts on your immune system in terms of vaccinations. Park says that if you are sleep deprived when getting a flu shot, for example, it takes your body longer to react to the vaccination. Your body produces fewer antibodies in reaction to vaccines when sleep-deprived, so you are still susceptible to getting the flu even if you got vaccinated. 

Lack of sleep also puts you at risk of severe adverse health conditions like:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Irregular heartbeat

How to get more sleep:

  • Doctors recommend abstaining from drinking caffeine in the afternoon and from consuming alcohol within six hours of your bedtime. 
  • Avoid taking naps during the day unless they are extremely short power naps. 
  • It also helps to stick to a normal sleep schedule and bedtime routine, such as reading a book or drinking herbal tea before bed. 
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark; it should be between 60-67 degrees and free of all light. 

However, if you suffer from insomnia or sleep apnea, you may need professional assistance to find a solution to your sleep problems. 

Contact the OSA Team at Silent Night Therapy 

If you’re struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, we understand that this gets in the way or you living your best life. The sleep experts at Silent Night Therapy are here for you. Meet with us for a consultation so we can get to the source of your sleep problems and help you find a solution so you can get a good night’s sleep. Call us at (631) 983-2463 today.