Good night’s rest boosts your body’s defenses, research suggests

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sleep-boosts-the-immune-system(NaturalHealth365)  Online platforms are filled with an array of health tips and tricks, promising the key to optimal well-being.  Yet, amidst the sea of information, many are just clickbait.  Surprisingly, one of the most overlooked health secrets is right under our noses: sleep.

Recent research from the Institute of Medical Psychology, as published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, sheds light on the importance of sleep.  It suggests that sleep plays a crucial role in facilitating the migration of T-cells to lymph nodes, driven by signals from prolactin and growth hormones within our bodies.  This highlights the significance of prioritizing sleep as a key strategy for boosting the immune system and leading a healthy life.

High-quality sleep is the missing piece to the puzzle of the immune system

The latest sleep research details how long and restful sleep enhances the body’s immune system.  Scientists analyzed how sleep impacts the movement of T-cell immune cells in healthy adults.  Study participants’ sleeping habits and blood samples were analyzed at specific times to better understand the relationship between sleep and the immune system.

Sleep experts examined the effects of restful versus poor sleep on the movement of T-cells and its impact on the immune system.  They also examined how sleep influences the body’s hormones, such as prolactin and growth hormone, and their role in regulating T-cell movement.

The findings reveal that the body’s T-cells are a boon to its immune system.  T-cells are a form of white blood cells that combat infection by moving throughout the body to pinpoint and eliminate invaders.  It is especially interesting to note that T-cell movement throughout the body is programmed to occur in a certain manner rather than occurring randomly.

The role of CCL19 chemokines in T-cells and the immune system

The body’s chemokines chemicals function as signals that steer T-cells accordingly.  T-cells move into lymph nodes that function as hubs for the immune system, working in unison with immune cells to identify and thwart threats.

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The study results reveal sufficient sleep spurs the migration of T-cell subpopulations toward chemokines, referred to as CCL19.  CCL19 chemokines are important as they redirect T-cells toward the aforementioned lymph nodes.  The movement of chemokines is much more efficient and effective at combating threats to the immune system when restful REM sleep is achieved and maintained.

In essence, sleep serves as a sophisticated mechanism that goes beyond offering a temporary immune system boost.  It enables the body to strategically defend against infections and other threats.

Furthermore, the researchers found that T-cell movement toward CCL19 is augmented by prolactin and growth hormone released during sleep.  Additionally, the plasma within the bodies of sleeping individuals mimics the effects of rest, playing a crucial role in facilitating T-cell movement.

Tips to achieve a restful night of sleep

Getting quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.  Here are some creative solutions to help you improve your sleep quality:

  1. Invest in blackout curtains for your bedroom windows to block out external light sources that may disrupt your sleep cycle.  Creating a dark environment signals to your body that it’s time to rest, promoting deeper and more restorative sleep.
  2. Consider incorporating classical music into your bedtime routine or using a white noise machine to create a soothing ambiance.  The calming melodies of classical music can help relax your mind and body, making it easier to transition into deep sleep.  Similarly, white noise can drown out external distractions and promote relaxation, helping you achieve and maintain REM sleep.
  3. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation before bedtime.  These techniques can help alleviate stress and tension accumulated throughout the day, promoting a sense of calmness and readiness for sleep.
  4. Create a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.  Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improves sleep quality over time.  The most important point here is to be asleep between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am.  These are the most restorative hours that the body needs to be asleep.
  5. Before bedtime, limit exposure to electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers.  The blue light emitted by these devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles, making it harder to fall asleep.  Above all, do not sleep near your cell phone.  Get as far away from wireless devices as possible – especially when sleeping at night.
  6. In addition, make an effort to shut off Wi-Fi routers (especially at night) and, generally speaking, have all devices hard wired in your home to reduce the risk of microwave radiation.  If possible, replace Wi-Fi routers with hard wired (only) routers to reduce exposure to EMF pollution.

By incorporating these tips into your bedtime routine, you can create a conducive environment for restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated each morning.

Sources for this article include:

Sciencedirect.com
Earth.com

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