Can Sleep Help You Avoid The Flu?
If you feel a cold or sore throat coming on, one of the best things you can do is get some sleep. One study showed that people who received flu shots and were sleep-deprived the next night did not create the antibodies required to protect against the flu. As soon as you see the first signs of an upper respiratory infection, try to sleep for 10 hours. If you're chronically sleep deprived, you're more likely to develop recurring infections and the infections you get can make you sick for a longer period of time.
Your immune system is hard at work while you’re sleeping. The relationship between sleep and the immune system is complex, involving the release of proteins, hormones and chemicals that help us fight disease and infection. Many studies have shown that when you are sleep deprived your T-cells, which help protect you, decrease. Also, while you sleep your immune system releases cytokines, which are proteins that not only help you sleep better but also protect you when you are under stress and from infection and inflammation. The protective cytokines increase and help you fight infectious disease and bacterial infections. Lack of sleep also releases proteins and hormones that can create inflammation and tissue damage.
Chronic sleep deprivation can harm the immune system and put you at greater risk for diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, obesity and specific cancers. So getting a good night sleep on a regular basis helps you in the short run by keeping you from having more sick days but also over the long haul by protecting your overall health.