We all just love to sleep, it’s the one thing we need and look forward to the most. That long peaceful uninterrupted snooze, feeling completely refreshed and raring to go in the morning. Sleep is also vitally important when it comes to the repair of the immune system.
Common inflammation along with infections will often be contracted because of sleepiness, not getting enough of it. These illness symptoms are activated by the immune factors which are known as cytokines, the clinical terms being interleukin-1 and interferon.
It appears that once we contract some type of sickness and begin fighting it, what the body naturally wants to do is begin to conserve energy for battling that illness. The best remedy is getting plenty of sleep and relaxation, which is natures best remedy.
Resting To Get Better
While sleeping is found extremely helpful when it comes to fighting off infectious illnesses, what not getting enough of it does is it attacks the immune system, which impairs its full functionality while inviting disease.
What a lack of sleep immediately impairs is the immune response when it comes especially to the flu. Those who are sleep deprived can only fight off just a portion of the invading influenza antibodies.
Whether or not this lack of rest has a long term effect on the overall effectiveness of a flu vaccine if taken, isn’t known.
Sending The Wrong Message
What’s often questioned by the medical community is why some of the “off-the-shelf” cold medication when advertising, will recommend taking their remedy and then going on with your daily life, being as active as possible.
“You don’t need rest” is what some of these popular cold and flu remedies state, which actually restricts our ailing bodies from getting any better. What’s agreed by most medical experts is that you need to get as much rest as possible.
But instead, they claim you don’t need to take any time off. You’re also potentially spreading the symptoms of the illness on to others and infecting them as well.
While it’s true that at times we just can’t afford to take any time off, but we should be staying at home and resting when sick, this not just for ourselves but for the sake everyone else around us.
Infection And The Immune System
What infection does is it activates the immune system, having systemic effect on the body which affects the quality of our sleep. Immune response illness not only robs us of sleep, but also alters the sleep cycle as well.
When the immune system attempts to fight off infection, the actual time that’s spent on REM sleep is decreased, while the deeper sleep patterns are increased.
This makes sense since it’s during this deeper sleep is when the body is able to repair itself most efficiently. Enhanced deeper sleep patterns appear to occur as a result of the process that’s activated by the release of cytokines.
It’s been studied in animals that once they become challenged by an infection, that they naturally develop a stronger increase in deeper sleep, giving them a significantly better chance of recovery and surviving the infection, than those who fail to display this response.
The Deprivation Of Sleep
What sleep deprivation does is it alters immune function which also reduces the resistance to infection. For those who happen to sleep less, will generally have lower resistance to viral activity.
It’s found that short-term decreases in sleep may potentially activate the immune system, which actually provides some advantages for fighting illness, but what prolonged sleep loss does is it has adverse effects on the immune system.
Can Sleep Deprivation Be Fatal
There has been various studies and discussion on how long someone can survive without sleep. Although there are no actual records based on humans, it’s theoretically possible.
The loss of life based on the lack of sleep has been demonstrated and tested on animals. The cause of death because of prolonged sleep deprivation tested on rats is known as sepsis.
In rats, what this requires is two to three weeks without getting sleep until it passes from sleep deprivation. This period of time is thought to be much longer for humans.
Get Plenty Of Rest To Fight The Flu
Since it is the cold and flu season, most will recommend getting the flu vaccination, this especially for the elderly and healthcare workers.
It’s found that getting lots of sleep and being completely rested prior to the flu injection, can help the immune respond to the vaccine much better and more effectively.
Getting adequate sleep isn’t a guarantee that you won’t catch the flu or get rid of it quicker, but doing so will help in maximizing your chances of becoming as resistant as possible.
This becomes important as you’ll inevitably encounter others who have already contracted the cold or flu, and may be spreading it into your direct environment.
And The Best Remedy Is
If you do happen to come down with an illness, especially the flu, it helps to just take grandma’s advice of getting plenty of sleep. It’s the best proven remedy which helps your body fight the infection while speeding up recovery.
It’s not recommended taking the “keep on going regardless of how sick you are” type of over the counter medication. This since the flu is a lot more serious than the common cold.
So pay close attention to that need of staying in bed and getting plenty of rest, fluids, and relaxation, which has been proven far more effective for you in the long run.
Also, when you’re fighting off infection, know that mom’s hot homemade soup and TLC will also help recovery. What all the best scientific testing suggests is that just getting plenty of rest remains the best cure.