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Getting an adequate amount of sleep is important for a wide variety of reasons. These range from keeping your stress levels stable to affecting your weight. It can also seriously impact your immune system.
If you consistently get less sleep, you might find yourself getting sick more often and taking longer to fully recover. When you go to sleep, your body isn’t doing “nothing”. It’s actually quite active during rest, doing a lot of behind-the-scenes maintenance that’s very important for you to stay healthy.
Your Body Produces Stuff in Your Sleep
One important thing your body does while you’re asleep is produced and utilize something known as cytokines. These are relatively small proteins that assist other immune system cells in doing their jobs. However, they’re only produced while you’re asleep.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, then your body will not produce enough cytokines. In turn, your immune system will be poorly equipped to take on illness.
Your Body Produces Hormones to Fight Infection During Your Sleep
Another part of your immune system that’s affected by sleep is the effectiveness of your white blood cells. There are various hormones that your white blood cells use to change their response time and effectiveness against foreign bodies. Most of these hormones are produced during sleep.
Without adequate sleep, you’re going to lack these hormones and your white blood cell response time can be inadequate. This means that when you get sick, it will often be worse than it normally should be. Recovery will take longer.
Other Ways that Sleep Affects Health
Sleep can affect your health in some very serious ways. For example, it can easily lead to weight gain if you don’t get enough sleep. Weight gain can substantially increase your risk of developing heart diseases.
Heart disease is incredibly serious, being a leading death factor for hundreds of thousands of people annually. Additionally, when you’re dealing with heart problems, your body has a harder time dealing with any other illnesses. Your body will be using resources to deal with your heart issue — any problems with your immune system would be challenging.
In order to get better sleep, you need to commit to a consistent sleep schedule. Your body will appreciate the consistency. By sticking with a schedule, your body has a much better time doing what it needs to do. Again your body won’t be wondering when you’re going to be going to sleep. You can use some sleeping aids if that’s what helps you — discuss this with your health care provider first. However, whatever it takes, you should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.