How Sleep Helps You Triumph Over Achy, Shaky, Sneezy Season

By Rebecca Shrum

Empowering Health & Wellness

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As you probably already know, I’m a super sleep supporter. Even more so when cold and flu season rolls around. This time of year, we all need help boosting our immune system so we can feel great and work at our best. One of the optimum ways to supercharge our individual immunity is to get enough sleep.
Lack of Sleep Makes You Vulnerable
The importance of sleep is well documented. People who report they get less than seven hours of sleep a night are almost three times more likely to become infected by the rhinovirus or common cold. Women who say they sleep five hours or less a night are almost 70 percent more likely to develop pneumonia. There’s also evidence that getting less than six or seven hours of sleep a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.
Sleep Helps You Get Well
Your own body confirms the sleep/immunity connection. Think about it. When you feel under the weather, what do you want to do? Curl up under a blanket and sleep, right? You naturally want to crash because your body knows that sleep, especially sleep at night, including deep non-REM sleep, stimulates the production of all kinds of immunity boosters — even making you more sensitive to their positive effects. You actually wake up the next day as a more robust immune individual. 
Sleep Even Impacts Immunizations
Your doctor probably tells you to get a flu shot during the fall. But did you know sleep can make your shot more protective? In a notable study, one group of people were only allowed to sleep four hours a night for six nights. The other group got a full night of sleep each night. During the study period, all participants got a flu shot. When the responses to that flu shot were measured, the people who slept just four hours a night went on to produce less than 50 percent of the normal antibody response. That result indicates that not getting sufficient sleep in the week or the days before you get your flu shot, may make it far less effective. As I’ve said before, and undoubtedly will again, sleep is your superpower. Make sleep a priority during the achy, shaky season so you can finish the year strong and be ready to celebrate the dawn of 2023!
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