Why Lack of Sleep & Illness are Tied Together More Than You Think

sleepRegardless of your level of knowledge when it comes to health and wellness, you probably know that, at the very least, sleep is important for staying healthy, and that therefore a lack of sleep can lead to more than a few significant health problems. While most people have felt the negative and draining effects that a poor night’s sleep, or a total lack of sleep, can bring on, the consequences of not making sleep a priority can really take a toll on a person’s health in so many subtle and insidious ways that the connection may not even be completely apparent, at least not initially.

Whether you have noticed it or not, the days you spend walking around in a fog because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before tend to be the days when you eat more, get irritable more easily, and overall are more susceptible to negative impacts to your health. In particular, scientific studies are showing that there is an undeniable link between the amount of sleep a person gets and the overall strength and function of their immune system. In other words, if your body is not getting the amount of sleep and rest that it needs to thrive, your immune system will not be able to function and operate as well as it needs to in order to keep you safe from many illnesses, infections, and viruses. This is what I learned about this harsh consequence of not getting enough sleep from an article by Huffington Post Health.

The most recent studies on the subject have concluded that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night on a somewhat consistent basis are the same people who are most susceptible to getting sick after experiencing exposure to the common cold virus. This may mainly be because, during sleep, the body’s inflammatory response which fights off infections and viruses is regulated and kept strong. As you can therefore imagine, a lack of sleep has the effect of messing up this inflammatory response, therefore making it weaker and less likely to be able to fight off an oncoming illness. Of course, this is all made much worse if you also combine a lack of sleep with other negative habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking. 

If you want to protect your overall health and well being, be sure to make getting enough sleep every night a huge priority in your life.

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Parker Knight

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Michael Cory

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