Why your immune system needs restful sleep

What’s the correlation between sleep and the immune system?

Your immune system is immensely dependent on quality sleep to be able to properly protect you. During sleep, the body produces proteins that protect you from the side effects of stress, infections, and inflammation. A good night’s sleep ensures that your immune system is functioning optimally and can neutralize bacteria and viruses to which you may have been exposed. Sleep is a cycle, and it’s during the later stages that your body has a chance to replenish its energy and repair itself. If sleep apnea keeps waking you up, you won’t spend enough time in these vital stages. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body loses this system of defense and leaves you susceptible to catching an illness. Not only can sleep deprivation make us more prone to illness or infection, but it can also delay recovery time.

In the video below, Dr. Kent Smith, of Sleep Dallas gives more information on what is happening to the body during sleep.

A lack of sleep inhibits your immune system and reduces your body’s ability to fight infections. The consequence is both a greater chance of becoming sick when exposed to a virus, as well as a more difficult time recovering when you’ve fallen ill. What’s even more alarming is that long-term sleep deprivation increases your risk for more serious chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The sudden drops of oxygen levels in the blood every night can also cause life-threatening issues over time. Your blood pressure will rise, and your cardiovascular system will become strained. You could suffer from recurrent heart attacks, strokes and abnormal heartbeats, all of which can result in death.

Signs and symptoms of a sleep related breathing disorder, like sleep apnea, that could be affecting your health include:

  • Snoring

  • Dry mouth/sore throat in the morning

  • Morning headaches

  • Periods of sleep in which you stop breathing (reported by your partner)

  • Gasping for air

  • Fatigue

  • Short attention span

  • Memory loss

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty falling asleep

Is there a solution?

If you are experiencing symptoms or have questions, you should seek help. If you think you are suffering from a sleep disorder, it is important that you seek medical attention to gain a diagnosis and explore your possible treatments. At Snore and Sleep Solutions we are able to provide a thorough screening, airway evaluation, and home sleep study, all at the initial consultation. Treatment could be more than just better sleep; it could mean a better marriage and also a longer and increased quality of life with those you love!

Contact our office, take this sleep assessment, or talk to your doctor about the signs and symptoms you may be experiencing.

Sleep All Night, Live All Day

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