The immune system is involved in fighting off infections in the body. Many factors affect efficiency and function of the immune system. Sleep is an important factor affecting the immune system.
The immune system functions best when getting enough sleep, which for most people is about 8 hours of sleep each night. A few hours less each night decreases the effectiveness of the immune system in fighting off infections. Portions of the immune system are most active while sleeping.
T-cells function best when getting enough sleep. Studies have found that T-cell function is decreased and impaired when sleep is limited. T-cells are an important part of the immune system and function to identify pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
This is especially important at the moment with concerns regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. Although studies are in the early stages, T-cells have shown importance in prompting an immune response against COVID-19. It is especially important to maintain a strong immune system as there is evidence that COVID-19 can decrease T-cell count, thereby hindering immune system function.
Cytokines are produced and released when sleeping. These cytokines have a variety of functions including signaling and regulating the immune system. Notably important cytokines include interferons, which promote antiviral function of the immune system, and interleukins, which signal between cells and are important for proper immune system function. Decreased sleep affects the production and function of these cytokines and limits the ability of the immune system to respond to threats.
Many factors can impact sleep and sleep quality. Factors that make sleep difficult can vary widely including stress, strenuous activity before bed, and lighting before bed. It is important to practice good sleep hygiene, including avoiding blue light before bed, stimulants such as caffeine in the evening, as well as foods and supplements that can be stimulating. Some stimulating supplements including B Vitamins and Vitamin D.
Pain and discomfort can affect sleep as well. It can be difficult to fall asleep with pain and discomfort. Sometimes discomfort is not particularly intense, but can be very irritating. Chiropractic treatment is effective for musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. This includes many situations, such as headaches, back pain, tightness in the neck and upper back with sitting, or pain and discomfort from muscle and joint overuse to name a few.
In this way, Chiropractic care can improve sleep quality and therefore improve immune system function. Contact our Chiropractor in Aloha, or SE Portland, OR if you have pain or discomfort that is impacting your sleep, whether from chronic postural issues or an auto accident.