How Sleep loss can affect your Immune System

sleep loss affects immune system

sleep loss affects immune systemKnoxville and Maryville, TN

Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Do you find yourself battling one illness after another, whether it is a cold, the flu, or just generally feeling less than your best? These two conditions actually may be linked. Numerous research studies have found that getting by with little sleep can do major damage to your immune system, compromising your body’s ability to fight infections. The end result is more sickness, more viruses, and longer recovery time from all of those illnesses. The concern is that living with sleep loss over the long term heightens one’s risk of chronic, life-threatening ailments such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Here’s what happens when you do not get enough sleep

Even when you are asleep, your body stays hard at work; specifically, you produce proteins that protect against stress, infections, and inflammation. If you consistently get the proper amount of rest, your immune system will be functioning at its best, leaving it more able to neutralize any bacteria and viruses as you become exposed to them. Failing to get proper sleep or living with sleep deprivation also deprives you of this natural defense system against illness and infection.

Getting proper sleep can make a big difference in your health. A study completed in 2017 at the Medicine Sleep Center at the University of Washington in Seattle looked at 11 pairs of identical twins, one of whom was dealing with sleep deprivation. In each case, the sleep-deprived twin had both a depressed immune system as well as an increased inflammatory response.

How much sleep do you need to be at your best?

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 should get about seven hours of sleep per night on average, although averaging six hours of quality sleep is better than eight or nine hours or fitful, restless sleep. You can take certain steps to try and improve the quality of your sleep. These may include creating a comfortable, dark, and cool environment, minimizing use of electronic devices, reading a book or listening to relaxing music right before bedtime, and trying to maintain a consistent schedule where you wake up and go to bed at approximately the same time each day—yes, even on weekends.

Your sleep also may be affected by a sleep breathing disorder. Estimated by the American Sleep Association to impact between 50 to 70 million individuals in this country, sleep breathing disorders impede or completely interrupt breathing during sleep. One of the most well-known, and most serious, sleep breathing disorders is obstructive sleep apnea. A person with sleep apnea may experience total blockages of the airway during sleep. Each time a blockage occurs, the brain sends signals to the body that the airflow has been impeded or cut off, and the brain awakens to signal the body to resume breathing. A person with sleep apnea may never become totally awake, but each time a sleep apnea attack occurs, the sleep cycle is disrupted, and you are deprived of the restoration to the mind and body that happen during the deepest stage of REM sleep.

Snoring is the major warning sign of a sleep breathing disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include frequently feeling fatigued during the day, suffering from poor performance at work or school, dry mouth, fragmented sleep, and restless sleep. Anyone of any age can suffer from sleep apnea, and it is a serious ailment that must be treated by a medical professional in order for the condition and its problems to be resolved.

Sleep apnea treatment in Maryville

The sleep apnea dentists at Crestview Dental Care have gone through the unique and specialized training to identify a sleep breathing disorder by analyzing the results of a sleep study that you can administer in the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule. From there, we can provide treatment—preferably through the use of oral appliance therapy, which entails prescribing a customized mouthpiece that re-positions the lower jaw to maintain an open airway throughout the night.

Are you living with sleep loss? If so, you should be screened for a sleep breathing disorder. Call Crestview Dental Care today at (865) 982-1700 to schedule a consultation.

Crestview Dental Care is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in Knoxville and Maryville in Tennessee.