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Sleep And The Immune System

Mar 24, 2008
The human immune system is one of the most complex systems in the human body and is responsible for weeding out harmful bacteria, viruses and other disease-carrying germs and microbes that cause coughs, common colds, flus and others. It is also able to do that have a potential to transmit deadly diseases. Central to the immune system are the T-cells whose function is to kill viruses and germs. Other "helper" t-cells actually kills infected body cells and others that have become diseased and thereby dysfunctional.

Sleep plays a very major role in the function of the immune system and this article we are going to examine whether there is a co-relation between sleep levels, sleep deprivation and the immune system

There is an interesting paradox involving sleep and the human immune system; less sleep means a weakened immune system which leaves the subject susceptible to illness, and illness itself causes one to have trouble sleeping, thereby weakening the immune system further!

Scientists have long held the premise that enough sleep is health because it boosts the immune system. They have found that the t-cells responsible for bolstering the immunity of the body are more active and in greater numbers in people who get at least more than six hours of sleep a day. Studies conducted involved different subjects who were both allowed to sleep to their fill and at a later time were deprived of sleep. After they were deprived of sleep their immune systems were tested and their t-cell concentrations measured.

It was interesting to note that there was an acute drop in t-cell numbers for subject deprived of sleep. T-cells as we saw earlier are responsible for warding off sickness by attacking disease-carrying viruses, bacteria and other germs. They also help the body by getting rid of diseased cells which have been infected and are no longer functioning at optimum pace.

In order to boost the immune system, it is essential we get at least 6 hours of sleep in a day. Here is what experts say regarding sleep.

The sleep set is literally the foundation of your sleep. But beyond your investment in the mattress, it's important to make an overall commitment to sleep. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle and ensuring the best night's rest:

1. Go to bed at set time every day. This fine-tunes your internal clock and ensures that the body rhythm is constant.

2. Some people normally establish a regular routine. This is normal and recommended. One such routine would be reading a book, listening to music etc

3. Sleep in an environment conducive for rest. This should be dark, quiet, comfortable and cool.

4. Ensure that both your mattress and pillow are up-to-date and comfortable.

5. Many people bring computers and other work-related work into the bedroom. If you can help it, don't. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex.

6. Get into bed at least 2 hours after you eat.

7. Exercise at least 2 to 3 hours before you get into bed.

8. Many people take a cup of coffee or a glass of wine after eating. While this has a relaxing effect, these substances can disrupt sleep
About the Author
Bill Romanowski is a 4-time NFL Super Bowl Champion player who endured the most grueling impact on his mind and body during his 16 year NFL career. During this time Bill learned how to harness premium nutrition to benefit both his mind and body. Romo is a living example of the quality of life that one can enjoy if they fuel their body with the correct nutrients. You can contact Bill at Nutrition53.
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