How much sleep do you get? Maybe you go to bed late and wake up early. Or you try to get some sleep, but toss and turn, waking up multiple times during the night.

When morning finally arrives, you’re tired and groggy. And all you can think about is coffee or caffeine to make it through the day. That ever happen?

If you’re not getting enough sleep (less than 7 to 9 hours), you’re probably going to feel tired. But poor sleep can also make your immune system cranky, grouchy, maybe even too tired to do its job.

How does your immune system respond to lack of sleep? Here’s what happens:

  1. Your immune system treats poor sleep like a stressful event.
  2. It’s ability to fight germs, viruses, and infection gets compromised.
  3. Inflammation goes up, increasing the risk for damage to organ tissues.
  4. Hormone levels needed to support the immune system fail to rest
  5. The risk for chronic disease goes up, including: heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Without adequate sleep, your immune system can’t recharge to do its job to protect your health.

An estimated 20 to 70 million adults in the U.S. toss and turn every night, or just don’t get enough sleep, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

That’s a problem that can compromise your immune system and put your health at risk.

Wondering how to improve your sleep habits to give your immune system a boost?

Here are some things you can do:

  • Create a sleep/wake schedule. Go to bed at the same every night (even on weekends), and wake up at the same time. At first, you might have trouble going to bed earlier, and still feel tired during the day. But stick with it, and you’ll help your body’s circadian clock reset.
  • Follow a bedtime routine. When it’s time for bed, do the same thing every night. For example: Put on pajamas. Brush your teeth. Read from a book. Relax. Do this consistently, and the routine will remind your body it’s time for sleep.
  • Avoid screen time beginning a few hours before bed (TV, computer, tablet, phones). Why? Exposure to blue light can trigger activity in your brain to keep you awake.
  • Relax. Research shows that activities like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and even soothing sounds/music can improve sleep and improve immune system function.

Want to boost your immune system to stay healthy? Get your Zzzs

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