The cold and flu season is approaching. The health of your immune system’s first responders, your white blood cells, determines your risk of becoming sick. A critical element in maintaining robust white blood cells is sleep. Unfortunately, many adults and most teenagers are not getting enough of it. It would be wise to improve our sleeping habits to ward off the aches, sniffles and blues of winter
A proper functioning immune system protects you not only from the common cold but also keeps cancer, allergies and autoimmune diseases at bay. Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation in particular weakens your immune system. Research shows sleeping less than six hours a night quadruples your risk of catching a cold.
Research published in the journal Sleep demonstrates that sleep deprivation has a similar depressing effect on your immune system as physical stress. It doesn’t matter if you are physically sick, emotionally stressed or sleep deprived your immune system is left in limbo in its preparation for battling wellness terrorists like the common cold and flu.
According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine sleeping less than seven hours per night is also associated with:
Inability to loose weight
Increased accident risk
The results from more than 300 studies suggest that, to protect your health, you need right around eight hours of sleep per night; and at least a minimum of seven. This applies to adults and seniors alike. School-aged children need anywhere from nine to 11 hours, and teenagers need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night.