How does sleep deprivation affect the immune system?

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Lack of sleep can affect your immune system negatively and make you more susceptible to catching colds and the flu. Studies have shown that people who don’t get proper sleep are more likely to get sick after they are exposed to a virus. Moreover, lack of sleep can also slow down your recovery rate after an illness. When you sleep, you give your body a chance to repair itself.

According to one study, severe sleep loss affects the immune system the same way stress affects the immune system. Per the research, the white blood cells can increase in quantity in response to sleeplessness and may also show a loss of day-night rhythmicity. The molecular mechanism behind this behavior is not known yet.

In the past, studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to the development of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Other studies have shown that sleep helps support the functioning of the immune system and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to immune system impairment.

Sleep also influences how we respond to an illness. For instance, the body fights infection with fevers, and sleep improves fever response. That’s the reason why fever often rises at night because when you are not sleeping, your fever reaction is not ready and that’s why your body isn’t able to deal with the infection properly. Studies have also found that sleep helps to maintain a balance between IL-10 and IL-12, both of which are required for the development of immune cells and the regulation of the immune system.

When you are asleep, the immune system releases cytokines, which are proteins that help promote sleep. Some cytokines are needed when you are fighting an infection or inflammation, or when you are stressed out. Sleep restriction can also decrease the production of cytokines.

Moreover, antibodies and cells that fight infection are reduced during the time when you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep. That’s the reason why you need to get proper sleep to keep your immune system healthy. In the long run, sleep deprivation can also cause heart and cardiovascular disease.

The optimal amount of sleep for adults is between seven to eight hours. Teenagers need up to 10 hours of sleep and school-going children may require more than 10 hours of sleep. However, sleeping longer isn’t necessarily always better. For adults, sleeping more than 10 hours a night may lead to a poor quality of sleep.

If left untreated, sleep disorders such as insomnia can have a lot of health repercussions. They can not only impact your physical health but may also decrease your productivity, lead to weight gain, and impair your memory. If you feel that you are suffering from insomnia, consult a doctor. You can find and book an appointment with top General Physician in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3250-044 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your health concerns.

 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.