Sleep has always been known for many of its amazing healing powers and health benefits. Like how sleep reduces stress, makes you more alert, improves your memory & may help you lose weight. All these benefits are just some of the amazing things that your body works to improve all the time and sleep helps with all of those.
T-Cells and Sleep?
Numerous studies have reported the benefits of a good night’s sleep, and researchers from Germany have found that better sleep improves immune cells known as T cells.
T cells are a type of immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens ( microparasites that are capable of growing and reproducing) for example, virus-infected cells such as flu and cancer cells. This has been told by Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study on T-cells and sleep.
So what do t cells mean to our sleep? Well, T-cells play an important role in the body’s immune system because when cells in the body recognize a virally infected cell, they activate integrins, which is a sticky type of protein, that then allows them to attach to and kill infected cells.
Researchers compared T cells from healthy volunteers who either slept or stayed awake all night. They found that in the study participants who slept, their T cells showed higher levels of integrin activation than in the T cells of those who were awake. This means that those who get lesser and lower quality sleep have less active T-cells used to fight viral infections.
This all points to that sleep has the potential to improve T cell functioning. For people who get poor sleep, stress hormones may inhibit the ability of T cells to function as effectively.
But how important is sleep?
Well al of us should really be getting the recommended 8-hour sleep. But how many really do? According to the Royal Society for Public Health in 2016 research found that we typically sleep for 6.8 hours a night. But a 2013 study found that 16% of adults in the UK sleep for fewer than six hours a night while another 19% sleep for between six and seven hours.
And if you’re not getting near that amount of sleep then you might have some short-term consequences. Some of these include sleepiness, poor judgment, car accidents, moodiness, memory problems, workplace mistakes, and more. Chronic poor sleep affects not only the ability to function well the next day, but the sleep deficit builds up the longer sleep isn’t good. If you’re not getting a good amount of sleep regularly then you may suffer from any of these.
How to get a better quality of sleep?
Below we have listed a few things that have been proven to help improve your quality of sleep…
1. Increase bright light exposure during the day
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration
2. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
Again, this is due to its effect on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. This reduces hormones like melatonin, which help you relax and get deep sleep
3. Don’t consume caffeine late in the day
Caffeine can stay in your blood for 6–8 hours. Therefore, drinking large amounts of coffee after 3–4 p.m. is not recommended, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine or have trouble sleeping.
4. Reduce irregular or long daytime naps
Long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
5. Try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times
Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle, especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.