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New Insights into Links Between Immune Function and Sleep

Lack of Sleep

Story at-a-glance -

  • Recent research shows that sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or disease, which is why you may feel ill after a sleepless night
  • Related research has discovered a key step in how your immune system powers inflammation in your body. By studying how neutrophils—immune cells that both defend against bacterial infections, and produce inflammation—adhere within your blood vessels, researchers hope to develop treatments based on modulating or blocking one of the steps in the adhesion cascade to reduce neutrophil recruitment
  • Researchers have revealed how white blood cells move to sites of infection, and understanding the molecular details of these processes can deepen understanding of how our bodies respond to inflammation, and help the development of drug therapies to manipulate your immune system
  • Drug therapies that either turn your immune system on or off are unlikely to produce optimal health, as such artificial manipulation can easily cause a cascade of detrimental side effects. The connections between sleep, immune function, and health are becoming ever more clear.
  • Lifestyle choices such as diet, physical activity, and proper sleep can have a profound impact on your health by rebalancing and harmonizing your body, allowing it to function optimally—without resorting to drugs to artificially try to force your body into an unnatural response pattern

By Dr. Mercola

Has a sleepless night ever made you feel physically ill?

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