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SLEEP AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Updated: Apr 19

Sleep has a big influence on immune function, so it is essential to get plenty of sleep.



Immunity and sleep are bidirectionally linked. Sleep has a key influence on immune function and inflammatory signals due to its restorative and regulatory abilities. Toxic overload and poor sleep can weaken your immune system, and having a weak immune system can cause poor sleep.



Our immune system is crucial in identifying and neutralizing toxic exposures, and the number one way it does this is through our detoxification pathways, which are most active while we sleep. When we get good quality sleep, our lymphatic system, glymphatic system, and immune system as a whole have the opportunity to flush out toxins from the day.



Good sleep quality and quantity (around 7 – 8 hours per night for adults) is essential for the maintenance of a healthy immune system and illness recovery.



Without enough sleep, our body produces fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.



For a better night’s sleep, you can start by turning off screens at least one hour before bed and putting your mobile on aeroplane mode. Electromagnetic Fields emitted by mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, and cell towers, have been shown to affect the pineal gland and disturb your sleep. Certify the room is cool, quiet, and dark, and set reminders to go to bed on time. Ideally around 10.30-11.00 pm. Getting some sunlight (in the late morning) for 10-15 min helps with the production of melatonin at night to promote better sleep.



A breathing exercise at bedtime (4-7-8) is very good for relaxing and feeling sleepy. The exercise is very simple and useful. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. Try 3-4 cycles or more if necessary. Essential oils also can be very good to help with better sleep.



Your diet may also be affecting your sleep quality and immune system directly, as discussed in the first article of this series. Eating real food, plenty of plant products, healthy fats, and a serving of high-quality protein with each meal, not only helps to support your gut microbiome health but also helps to balance your blood sugar levels, promoting a night of better sleep and a stronger immune system.



Sticking to a night routine is very important in guaranteeing a restful and invigorating night of sleep.


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