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Why your sleep matters now more than ever

  • Joanna Shtrosberg

With winter fast approaching we are all feeling more conscious about our health and immunity. Flu and Covid spread more quickly during the cold winter months so it is important to think about ways to boost your body’s immunity levels. Of course, vaccines are a huge help, but don’t forget the one very simple way to give your immune system a helping hand – and that’s through the power of sleep.

How sleep can impact your immunity

Sleep and immunity are closely interrelated. If you aren’t sleeping for long enough (and here I’m talking about the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 8 hours per night for an adult), then your immune system can be significantly negatively affected.

In a study[1] looking at the effect of sleep on immunity, scientists infected participants with a cold virus and divided them into groups depending on how much sleep they were allowed each night. Those participants who slept only 5 hours a night for a week, had a 50% infection rate after they were exposed to the virus. Whereas participants who slept 7+ hours a night in the week before they were exposed to the virus only had an 18% infection rate. So it is clear that sleep has a very significant impact on our body’s ability to protect itself against infection.

[1] Walker, M. (2017) ‘Why We Sleep’

Sleep yourself well

When you're ill, sleep can help you recover more quickly.

When you’re ill, what do you do? Or at least, perhaps I should ask, what do you want to do?  The answer isn’t likely to be going for a jog or cooking the family meal.  What your body desperately needs when you are ill, is sleep.  This is your body’s way of getting better, or as Matthew Walker puts it in his book ‘Why We Sleep’ – “your body is trying to sleep itself well”.  So, the body’s immune system stimulates the sleep system.  If you don’t get enough sleep during this crucial time, your body won’t recover as quickly.

Sleep to improve vaccine effectivity

Many of us have had or are getting the flu vaccine over the coming weeks. How can sleep help you? Well, sleep plays a very important role in helping your body react effectively by producing antibodies. In a study done in respect of the flu vaccine, scientists discovered that people who slept 7-9 hours a night in the week before their flu vaccine, boasted a powerful antibody reaction. Those who were restricted to only 4 hours a night produced less than 50% of the antibodies compared to the well-slept group. So, if you want your vaccine to be as effective as possible, allow yourself decent stretches of nighttime sleep.

The magic of sleep

I don’t see sleep as a luxury – I see it as a necessity. Its benefits are so wide-ranging and important. Decent sleep can literally change your life for the better – boosting your immunity, your physical health and your mental wellbeing.

I suffered from a lack of sleep for years and now it is my number one priority.  Read my blogs on tips to getting a good night’s sleep and why you should care about sleep.  And if you aren’t sleeping properly because your child isn’t sleeping well, then now is the time to act. And we’re here to help if you need us.

Sleep Superstars provides sleep welfare packages tailored to your child and your preferences for a fraction of the cost of a traditional sleep consultant. Our packages are ready instantly on purchase, together with our Sleep Support Hub – full of advice where you can troubleshoot and search for any problems you might encounter. So, you can start tonight!

Joanna Shtrosberg
Joanna is a certified level 6 holistic sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Superstars. Her vision is to help parents navigate the challenges of parenthood by helping them and their children get the sleep they need. Before setting up Sleep Superstars, Joanna graduated from Cambridge University and the College of Law after which she practised in the legal profession for several years. She is also a mother to two young boys so fully understands the difficulties in balancing a career with family life.