Sleep and the Immune System: How the Two Go Hand-in-Hand to Keep You Healthy

May 26, 2021

Taking your vitamins, eating foods rich in antioxidants, loading up on elderberry syrup - you’ve heard all the immune system booster tricks. But you may be neglecting one of the supreme keys to boosting your immune system: sleep.

You see, sleep and the immune system go hand-in-hand in keeping your immune system firing on all cylinders. Think of sleep as your body’s natural charging system. Not just to give you energy, but to charge up your immunity.

The Importance of Your Immune System

Keeping your immune system strong and healthy is essential to so many areas of your life. As your body’s armor to fighting illness, the stronger, the better. When your immune system is working correctly, it’s able to properly identify and respond to harmful antigens that could make you sick. Some of these antigens include:

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Chemicals
  • Drugs
  • Toxins
  • Foreign objects

There are two ways your immune system fights off things that could make you sick: innate immunity and adaptive immunity.

Innate Immunity

Your body’s natural defense system, the immunity armor your body was born with, is called your innate immunity. Some of these innate immunity examples are found in your body regularly, like:

  • Mucus
  • Skin
  • Stomach acid
  • Cough reflex
  • Tear and skin oil enzymes

And if you’re immune system isn’t operating at its finest, luckily, you have another part of your illness-fighting armor to protect you from getting sick.

Coughing is one of your body's innate immune system responses.

Adaptive Immunity

Your body’s second line of defense, your adaptive immunity, is also called acquired or specific immunity. Unlike your innate immunity, your adaptive immunity attacks particular germs. Your innate immune system is a general defense, while your adaptive immune system makes antibodies fight germs the body had come into contact with previously.

While these two types of immunity in your body are vital to keeping you healthy, you want them strong, but you also want them regulated. Having a regulated immune system means it’s not constantly on the edge of its seat, waiting to attack anything and everything in your body.

The Relationship Between Sleep and the Immune System

Sleep and the immune system have a bidirectional relationship. What does that mean? Well, think of the good ‘ol catch-22 of trying to get a job to gain experience, but you can’t gain experience until you get a job. Both are good things, but they quite often affect one another.

 

The same goes for sleep and the immune system. Because sleep is the ultimate immune system booster, you need it to keep your body’s natural sickness-fighting armor strong. But when your immune system responds the way it naturally does, like when it’s fighting an infection, it can be tough to get sleep. (That’s because your immune systems aren’t going to catch everything under the sun - especially when you’re stressed or living in “lack of sleep” world.)

How Sleep is King of Boosting Your Immune System

While you’re catching some quality Z’s, your body’s immune system charges up by increasing cytokine production.

“Cyto-wha?! Isn’t that what kills Superman?”

The term “cytokines” actually refers to the cells’ proteins in your body release when your immune system springs into action. (Also call your immune system response.) Cytokines are associated with your inflammatory response - whether that be anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory.

“So what?”

So these inflammatory responses include when your skin gets red around a cut or scrape or when you start feeling like a mucous-making monster when you have a cold or virus. While it may not seem pleasant, these are good things. They are your body’s natural immune system response to foreign objects, viruses, toxins, or other contagions.

A strong immune system can help you avoid getting sick.

That means when you get quality sleep, your body is better equipped to fight off infection and help you either avoid getting that stinking cold everyone in your office has or help you get over it faster.

Sleep and the Immune System: Help Your Body’s Immune Memory

There’ve been a ton of studies done on sleep. All that science and research have revealed that sleep is when your brain consolidates what you’ve learned and experienced from the previous day into your memory bank.

In the same way sleep helps your body retain memories, sleep also helps your immune system’s memory get stronger. That means sleep helps your immune system recognize and react to antigens, allowing you to fight things off faster and easier than if you didn’t get adequate sleep.

Weighted Blankets Can Help Boost Your Immune System Too

Okay, perhaps not directly. But weighted blankets can help you sleep better. And if you’ve learned anything in this article, it’s that sleeping better is a great immune system booster.

Weighted blankets, especially high-quality weighted blankets like ours at Weighted Evolution, deliver something called Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS). When you lay a soft, breathable, exceptionally manufactured Weighted Evolution weighted blanket on you to go to sleep, you’ll get yourself some DPS, which is like a comforting, not-too-tight, hug. And you’ll get it all night long.

Weighted blankets mean better sleep, which means a boosted immune system.

See, DPS has been proven to help your body increase the hormones your body needs to increase to help you feel calm and relaxed enough to fall asleep. (Serotonin and melatonin.) DPS also helps decrease that sometimes pesky (but also helpful) hormone cortisol, called your stress hormone.

And, because you feel DPS throughout all four absolutely critical sleep cycles, your body can exit lack-of-sleep-ville and enter the wonderful all-encompassing world of quality sleep.

Here’s an easy-to-understand diagram of how a weighted blanket leads to a stronger immune system:

Weighted evolution means quality sleep, which means a strengthened immune system.

 

Any questions? Oh, just one? There in the back?

Did you ask, “Where can I get me a Weighted Evolution weighted blanket, which will get me some quality sleep and a strengthened immune system?”

Excellent question. We’d thought you’d never ask.

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