Sleep Health

How sleep boosts your immune system

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Everyone understands the benefits of a great night’s sleep.

There’s nothing quite like waking up full of energy, ready to start a new day. But sleep has so many other benefits too, such as helping to boost your immune system which keeps you healthy.

You’ve probably heard Doctors say “get plenty of bed rest” when you're sick, and there’s a good reason for this. 

The connection between sleep and your immune system

Your immune system is a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to maintaining your health, but it’s always there protecting your body every day.

The immune response actively fights infection, harmful organisms and anything else foreign that’s attempting to invade your body1. But when it gets weak is when you can become sick. So it’s in your best interest to help keep it strong, active and functioning well.

While medically it’s not fully understood why people need so much sleep, but we can safely say that sleep helps us to restore ourselves physically. Because of this, sleep is believed to help keep your immune system strong and your heart and blood vessels healthy by allowing our bodies to allocate energy to growth and healing2.

During the day, we spend a lot of energy being up and about, whereas sleeping gives our bodies a chance to slow down and repair.

Your immune response during sleep

Your body is actually quite subconsciously active throughout the night while you sleep.

During those hours, your immune system releases types of small proteins called cytokines which help your body ward off infection, inflammation and trauma3. However, when you don’t get sufficient sleep or you suffer from poor sleep quality, your immune system may not be able to function at its best which can leave you more vulnerable to illness.

How sleep improves your immune response

Sleep has been shown to improve the effectiveness of immune cells, especially when it comes to forming an “immunological memory” – which is the ability of your immune system to quickly and specifically recognise a problem that it has encountered previously and respond in a similar way to before4.

This helps your body fight illnesses with a stronger immune response, and keep you well to continue living your life! 

So, whether or not you’re sick, it’s still important to practise good sleep habits to ensure you’re well-rested, your body is healthy and your immune system is functioning well. 

How a free sleep assessment can help you

Getting enough sleep each night not only helps your immune system – it has a lot of other positive benefits too.

If you are experiencing problems sleeping, you may wish to consider taking our free online sleep assessment to better understand how you can improve your restful state and overall health. 

The assessment only takes a minute or two and asks you a series of simple questions designed to provide you with more information about how you can improve your sleep. 

Discover how you can awaken your best by taking the online sleep assessment now.

Take the ResMed online sleep assessment

Learn about any sleep issues you may have and how best to improve your rest.

 

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Citations

1

Source: Immune system explained. Better Health Victoria.

2

Source: Sleep. Health Direct, Victoria.

4

Source: Sleep and immune function. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

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