Sleep and Your Immune System

Studies show that people who don't get enough sleep or enough quality sleep increase their risk of getting sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.

Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These proteins help promote sleep. Your body needs more cytokines when you have an inflammation or infection. Stress also triggers increased production. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough shut-eye.

So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases. Long-term lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system? The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.

But more sleep isn't always better. For adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in a poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Developing a healthy sleep routine is one of your best defenses against illness. As we say at pomfy™ fight infection this fall...LET'S GET TO BED™!

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