How sleep helps fight viruses

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How sleep helps fight viruses


Good sleep supports the immune system and plays an important role in the defense against viruses. You should pay attention to that now



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Good sleep keeps you healthy and strengthens your immune system.


Everyone makes an effort to avoid being infected with the Corona virus: you keep your distance from your fellow human beings, wear a mask on your face while shopping and wash your hands regularly.

Should you still catch it, a resilient immune system is the most important building block to survive the infection well.

Why, in addition to healthy eating and endurance sports in the fresh air, good sleep also contributes significantly to strengthening your immune system, explains neurobiologist and sleep expert Dr. Verena Senn.

How do viruses weaken the immune system?

“Viruses infect cells by docking to the surface and then injecting their own molecules into a cell,” explains Dr. Senn, “The result is that this body’s own cell is ‘reprogrammed’ and begins to produce virus building blocks itself. When this process is completed, the infected cell dies and releases the new viruses, which then infect other cells.”

How does the immune system work against viruses?

When viruses enter the body, the immune system activates the body’s defenses, especially the white blood cells, the so-called killer cells. Dr. Senn: “You recognize the infected cells and can switch them off early, before the new viruses are ready.”

So that there are always enough killer cells in the body, in addition to a high-quality diet and a healthy lifestyle, adequate sleep also plays an important role. “On the other hand, those who sleep too little on a regular basis are significantly more susceptible to diseases or infections,” says the sleep expert at Emma The Sleep Company.

How does sleep support the immune system?

In a study the Oxford Sleep Research Society Scientists demonstrated that the proportion of killer cells that can recognize and kill virus-infected cells decreased by 70 percent when the subjects slept only 4 instead of 8 hours. “This is striking and a clear appeal to always ensure adequate sleep,” says Dr. Senn and advises to remember the next time you stream a series late into the night.

What is healthy sleep that supports the immune system?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Dr. Senn: “Incidentally, you cannot sleep in a supply and you can only catch up on sleep to a limited extent.”

There is no uniform, optimal time to go to sleep. The best thing is to listen to your internal biological clock. Dr. Senn: “Since the internal clock ticks individually, there are early risers and people who get up late and are active longer in the evening.” If you listen to it and adjust your sleep rhythm to it, it is easier to get a sufficient, deep sleep time.

So to support your immune system with enough healthy sleep, it is not important whether you are an early riser or a late riser, but that you get the recommended minimum of 7 hours of sleep.

How can you promote good sleep?

Dr. Verena Senn emphasizes the importance of the internal clock and its connection to light or darkness, which is largely controlled by the hormone melatonin.

“Receptors in our eyes react particularly to blue light and signal to the brain that it is daytime, i.e. waking time. In order for melatonin to ensure a healthy sleep / wake cycle, smartphones or laptops should only do a lot 1 to 2 hours before falling asleep limited use. ”

Adequate sleep is not only extremely important in corona times, so that your immune system can optimally protect you from harmful viruses and bacteria. Get to know your sleep rhythm and do not sacrifice it for a tempting series marathon even in times of domestic isolation.

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