Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for mood, concentration and overall function. Did you know that getting sufficient sleep can also boost your immune system? This is more important now than ever as we navigate the age of COVID-19.
What the Research Shows
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany have identified a link between poor sleep and impaired immune function. They also believe they’ve uncovered the mechanism behind this connection. This study was published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in 2019.
T Cell Disruption
The research team believes the link between sleep and immune function has something to do with T cell disruption. T cells are part of the body’s immune response to foreign bodies that may be harmful.
When immune cells recognize certain pathogens, they activate integrins, which are a protein that T cells attach to in order to fight off invaders. There is not a lot that is known about T cells or what prevents them from attaching.
Researchers studied the Gs alpha-coupled receptor (Gas-coupled receptor agonists), which are signaling molecules that can block the action of the immune system, in order to learn about this mechanism.
Using lab analysis, they found that some Gs alpha-coupled receptor agonists stopped T cells from activating integrins, preventing them from attaching. Receptor agonists that were identified included two hormones: adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Sleep Enhances T Cell Response
During sleep, adrenaline and noradrenaline levels tend to drop, so the next step of this study was to research the phenomenon in humans.
For this part of the study, researchers took T cells from volunteers, one sleeping group and one awake group. Analysis of these samples showed that the sleeping group’s T cells had higher integrin activation levels than the awake group.
This shows that sleep has a positive impact on the function of the T cells. This is because Gs alpha-coupled receptor agonists are less active in this state.
What This Means for You
Sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. If you’ve purchased a comfy new mattress from Express Furniture & Mattress and still are having trouble sleeping, you may have a sleep disorder. Call the sleep experts at Hampton Roads ENT today to get help.