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I have trouble sleeping. Is my immunity at risk?

Yes ! Sleep and the circadian system exerts a strong regulatory influence on immune functions. Circadian clock genes exist through the brain as well as the peripheral tissues of human, which regulates almost all the physiological, hormonal, molecular processes, sleep mechanism, cell growth etc. Similarly wide range of physiological system involved during sleep like energy metabolism, cognitive performance, immune mechanism, cell growth etc.

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. There are many studies that proves, that people who experience lack of enough and quality sleep are prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus. With this pandemic around us immunity has become a center of concern. Design of our immune system is complex and influenced by an ideal balance of many factors, not just diet and especially not by any one specific food or nutrient. However, balanced diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle factors like adequate sleep, exercise and low stress, most effectively primes the body to fight infection and disease.

Sleep and Cytokines

During sleep, your immune system releases the proteins called cytokines, that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective Cytokines.In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you dont get enough sleep.

Stock up on naps

To stay healthy, especially during the pandemic era, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night (10:00 pm to 6:00 am / 11:00 pm to 7:00 am). This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape. If your sleep schedule has interrupted by a busy work week or other factors, try to make up with small naps. Taking 2 naps not longer than 30 minutes each – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – has been shown to help reduce stress and reduce the negative impact of stress on immune system. You may also try taking nap of 20 min during your lunch break and 20 min nap right before dinner.

Other tactics

Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample of sleep. Diet, exercise, meditation and lifestyle all together helps one build a good immunity Diet and exercise play a crucial role in maintaining an individual’s immune system.

A balanced meal of carbs, protein and restrict amount of fat can overall improve and reduce a the chances of diseases and infections .As such there is no single superfood that will charge your immune, but there are essential micronutrients required that can backup your immune system like

Vitamin C in Kiwi ,lemon,gooseberry , berries , bell pepper can help with decreasing respiratory infections and is also an antioxidant ,

Vitamin A in pumpkin ,waterlemon, sweet potato helps the production of WBC which fights against bacteria and virus ,

Vitamin D in eggs – help to decrease upper respiratory tract infections ,

Vitamin E in walnuts is an anti inflammatory food ,

Omega 3 in Soya beans almond, sunflower seeds helps the immune cells to destroy the invading bacteria,

Zinc in pumpkin seeds helps in development and functioning of immune cells .

Some functional foods that improves immunity are garlic , ginger , jeera, pepper, turmeric which boost cell activity and have anti inflammatory activity .

Probiotics primarily modulating gut bacteria, and supplementation reduces gastrointestinal and upper respiratory symptoms and modulates some aspects of the immune system.

Exercise has anti-inflammatory effects, which means that moderate amounts of exercise enhance immune function .Heavy physical activity produces a rapid increases in cytokine production and also pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

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