During sleep, our bodies repair and restore themselves. Many of the body’s major restorative functions – like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and muscle growth, occur mainly, or in some cases only, during sleep.
So it makes sense that if you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t properly repair itself…and that leaves you open to infection.
Did you know that animals that are deprived of sleep completely lose all their immune function and die after a few weeks?
I have just had to travel interstate and then to the other side of the world at extremely short notice.
The preparations meant I got very little sleep for a few days – 2 to 4 hours each night.
And the result?
A viral throat infection. Luckily I managed to keep it at bay by drinking large amounts of water.
But travelling across 10 time zones twice in a week made me a sitting duck for the flu-like virus that my youngest child decided to share with me by joining me in bed on my return 😉
So much for the short-term effects of a few sleep-deprived nights.
Luckily, the reverse is also true.
When you’re sick you naturally feel like going to bed. And you can fight infection and heal yourself best when you are asleep. That’s certainly what happened to me during these illnesses. That’s because the substances that the immune system produce to help fight infection also cause fatigue.
So…next time you’re feeling ill, go to bed. You’ll get better faster…and you’ll remove your germs from wider circulation.
But sometimes you’re not sick, even if you just look and sound like you are.
Hayfever is a case in point. If you are a hayfever sufferer, have you ever paid attention to how tired you are when your hayfever symptoms appear? Those itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose could be another way your body is telling you to get more sleep. I know that is certainly the case for me.
A good night’s sleep may reduce, or even prevent, your hayfever symptoms. So before your hayfever interrupts your sleep, try interrupting your hayfever by getting more sleep!
How does your tiredness affect your immune system? Share your experiences in the Reply box below.
Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!