The Importance of SLEEP
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on July 14, 2020
The Importance of Good Quality SLEEP
In # 5 of this series of ‘COVID-19 Notes’, on Diet and lifestyle, I discussed the importance of sleep to one’s healthy immunity status. I will expand on that here.
Sleep deprivation is common in our daily lives and the toll it takes on our bodies is cumulative and destructive. As mentioned before, and bears repeating here, the body’s optimal antibody response is enhanced by sleep. An influenza vaccine was given to 2 groups of subjects, one with no sleep deprivation and another with ongoing sleep deprivation. The antibody response to the vaccine was then studied in both groups. The group that enjoyed adequate length and efficiency of sleep had a much better antibody response than the sleep deprived subjects. Since antibody response to vaccines is a good indicator of immune system health, it is not surprising that individuals who have a poor antibody response to vaccines are those who experience higher rates of illnesses. If faced with an infection challenge, those who enjoy good sleep will have more resistance to that challenge. Another study at Carnegie Mellon University showed that when a preparation of rhinovirus (one of the viruses causing the common cold) was dropped into the nasopharynx of subjects, those with routinely LESS than 7 hours of sleep were almost 3 times more likely to develop a cold than those with MORE than 8 hours of sleep. There were even more striking findings when they looked at the quality of sleep (efficiency). (Efficiency of sleep is the percentage of time one actually spends asleep in bed. Repeated wake-ups, long and short, and taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep reduces the efficiency score.) Those with less than 92% sleep efficiency scores were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those with sleep efficiencies of 98% or better. Thus, poor sleep quality and shorter duration of sleep in the weeks preceding exposure to the virus were associated with a lower resistance to the viral infection. Sleep has been shown to improve the activation of integrins (proteins that facilitate certain binding actions) that are essential in the formation of immunological synapses that result in T-cell adhesions to pathogens (viruses and bacteria) and infected cells (target cells) so that they can be destroyed.
Deep sleep allows the brain to detoxify. REM sleep enhances the formation of memory. A lack of sleep leads to overeating and obesity. Sleep deprivation initiates a process that results in an increase in the blood level of endocannabinoid, a lipid that acts on the brain similar to marijuana making us enjoy food more, especially things we should restrict or avoid altogether such as candy, cookies and chips. Studies have shown that sleep deprived individuals eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories the following day as compared with those getting a full night’s sleep. Sleep renews us daily in many ways, not the least of which is to contribute to optimal functioning of our immune systems that protect us from illness.
For a BETTER night’s sleep use the “3-2-1 RULE”:
- No food or alcohol 3 hours before bed
- No work 2 hours before bed
- No screen time 1 hour before bed, meaning phone, laptop, tv