Have you ever wondered how much influence sleep has on your immunity? It seems that for many of us, the additional stress we feel these days can disrupt our sleep patterns, which unfortunately can lower our immunity.

Research has shown that when we sleep, stress hormones decrease and our body’s ability to remove toxic substances is increased. These are just a few of the reasons why we feel better after a good night’s sleep.

If there is one thing that we should focus on these days, it is self-care. The concept “I’ll take care of myself for you, and you can take care of yourself for me” takes on a new and critical meaning. This means it’s up to us to keep our immune system working well, and by doing so, we take care of others too.

One of the easiest ways to take care of ourselves is by getting enough sleep. For everyone, the exact number of hours needed per night will differ. But one thing is for sure and that is our immune system will not be at its best if our sleep is compromised.  And if we do get sick, good quality sleep is one of the top things our body needs to recover. So the importance of good quality sleep cannot be overstated at this time! 

The truth is that proper self-care during the day, or your waking hours, is key to getting good quality sleep in the evening.  At a basic level, this means that our body has been properly fed during that day, and that the last meal occurred at least two, ideally three, hours before bed.  Equally important our bodies (and minds) need to move throughout the day, as well as experience some form of mental and physical challenge, most days.  Ideally, these challenges would occur at least two hours before bedtime. 

Just as important as taking care of our physical needs, we also want/need to take care of our psychological needs and find ways to release any negative emotions that may have come up during the day, so that you can go to bed with a peaceful heart and a calm mind.  For each of us, the ways we can get into this peaceful, calm state may vary, but a few options to consider would include talking/laughing with a good friend, journaling, reading a good book, and even taking a warm Epson salt bath.

While getting more sleep doesn’t guarantee you will never get sick, sleeping the number of hours your body needs will definitely reduce your susceptibility to infections or other illnesses.   

So, go ahead and enjoy a good night’s sleep, it will work wonders for your immune system!