THE PROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF SLEEP
Sleep is just as important for mitigating inflammation.
Lack of sleep is a type of physical stress combined with a chemical stress on the body, and usually perpetuates anxiety and emotional stress then next day. All of these types of stressors can cause an increase in inflammation in the body.
Researchers at UCLA were the first to look at how sleep loss affects the immune system. Poor sleep – even just for one night – triggers cellular and genetic processes, and initiates an immune system response, where your white blood cells may pump out almost double the amount of inflammatory agents as if you had gotten a good night’s sleep.
And that inflammation tears up your gut lining, which is the home of much of your immune system. And that leads to food sensitivities and other health issues. And the cycle begins again.
Sleep is hypothesized to play a restorative role on immune system. Disturbed sleep is thought to impair your defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation is a common occurrence in our modern society and has been observed in a number of chronic inflammatory conditions including autoimmune diseases.
There’s a very tight two-way cycle and correlation between sleep issues and a weakened or faulty immune system: Poor sleep may trigger autoimmune; and autoimmune makes sleep more difficult sometimes or needed in greater amounts.
So sleep like it’s your job! Commit to it! You may think it’s just a state of unconscious time wasting, but so much is happening – hormones are rebalancing, cells are healing, the brain is processing… rest, recovery, refreshing. Every person is different, and various health issues and lifestyle factors can alter the specific amount you need. But on average, yes, strive for 7-8 hours of QUALITY sleep nightly – much like a full time job.