Immunity 101 – The role of sleep in immunity

Sleep is a natural restorative process, it is essential for the body and allows it to get rest and prepare itself for the next day.

Sleep is a natural restorative process, it is essential for the body and allows it to get rest and prepare itself for the next day, but mostly sleep gives the opportunity to your cells to rejuvenate and to your brain a chance to sort things out.

What happens during sleep?

During sleep, cells rejuvenate and DNA repairs, between 10 pm and 2 am the body also detoxifies and starts to heal itself. Sleep also helps to reduce stress and regulate hormones, reduces inflammation, improves concentration, memory and increases energy level. It can also help with weight loss and protects your heart.


The role of sleep in immunity:

Some studies have demonstrated that when a person doesn’t get proper sleep (either in quantity and quality) they are more at risk to fall sick when exposed to pathogens such as viruses and bacterias. During sleep, immune T-cells (lymphocytes) produce cytokines (cell signalling proteins) that can trigger inflammation response in the body and turn genes on and off. T-cells also produce antibodies that can attach to pathogens (such as viruses and bacteria). T -cells are your body’s army battalion that recognises and kills viruses and other pathogens. 
The less you sleep, the less this immune mechanism can take place. 


How much sleep do we need?

Though a newborn baby needs to sleep up to 18 hours a day, an adult needs on average 8 hours of quality sleep to have a beneficial restorative night.

Despite the established long list of benefits of sleep and its vital necessity, a high number of the population is still sleep-deprived, by not allowing enough hours for their night sleep, having bad quality sleep with many night awakenings or by simply not prioritising it. Get more details on ‘How much sleep do we really need?’ here.
Discover here how much sleep do kids need?

So what can you do to sleep better?


In today’s fast-paced environment, when there is so much to do and so many distractions to keep our minds occupied 24/7, sleep may seem for many like a waste of time.
But it is clearly demonstrated that the same way breathing is vital for all our organs, sleep is essential to maintain cognitive function, regenerate the body and support our resistance to external aggressions.




Author Valérie Marin

– Health and Nutrition Coach –
Valerie is a certified health and nutrition coach. She helps and motivates her clients to make healthy lifestyle choices and engage sustainable changes that make them feel their best. Valerie is certified from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, with a speciality in hormone and gut health.



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