When trying to boost your immunity or ward off sickness, getting a good night’s sleep may not be at the top of your list. We've all heard that vitamin C, drinking adequate water, and good old-fashioned chicken soup can fight a cold - but studies show that getting a full night of deep sleep is just as, if not more important than anything you can ingest. Read on about why quality sleep is of the utmost importance in achieving overall wellness and giving your immune system the support it needs.
THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP AND IMMUNITY
It all comes down to cytokines in your body. What exactly are cytokines, you may ask? In the broadest of terms, they are a category of proteins in your body that act as messengers for your other cells that can stimulate - or slow down - the effect on the immune system. You need cytokines because they play such an integral part with your immunity - they are actually the cells of your larger immune system and they are your immunities communication system.
The hook is that your body creates cytokines during sleep, so if you’re not getting enough shut-eye, you’re not giving your body enough time to produce these important proteins. Additionally, fewer hours of sleep won't give your body enough time to create antibodies and other important infection-fighting cells. All said, less sleep = fewer cytokines = more chances to get sick.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?
So now that you understand why sleep is SO important in keeping your defenses up, you’re probably wondering exactly how much sleep you need to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. According to the Mayo Clinic, the optimal amount of sleep at night for adults is 7-8 hours per night of sleep to help feel your best and allow your body enough time to create those important virus and inflammation-busting cells.
Aiming to reach at least seven hours of sleep at night (give or take) is a good rule of thumb, but according to the CDC, most Americans are coming up short. Children and teenagers need even more sleep because their bodies are going through such huge developmental changes.
QUIETING YOUR MIND WITH WHITE NOISE
We get it - there is a LOT going on in the world and a myriad of things that can keep you up at night. One of the biggest reasons people report for not being able to sleep is anxiety, stress, and not being able to “shut their mind off.” That’s where our beloved white noise comes in!
White noise is a powerful tool to tell your mind—and your body—that it's time for zzz's.
The uniform, constant hum of a white noise machine masks sounds that may activate your brain when you’re trying to sleep. It also gives your restless brain something soothing to “rest” on rather than your anxious (and perhaps repetitive) thoughts. White noise machines often come with customizable features so that you can find the exact pitch, tone, and volume that is most relaxing to you. Achieving the recommended seven hours of sleep a night to keep your immunity robust can seem like a daunting task, but restorative sleep is as important as ever for your overall health and wellness.