Sleep deprivation has a negative impact on fertility, memory, and even the immune system.

Last night, how well did you sleep? And how has that influenced how you feel now? Most of us have had poor sleep or even insomnia at some point in our lives, and we know how it makes you feel.

What may be less well known is the importance of getting enough sleep. Not only will you feel energised and ready to face the day, but your mental and physical health will improve as well. Sleep can aid your immune system’s performance while not getting enough can:

  • rise the risk of heart attack.
  • can cause a reduction in male hormonal virility equivalent to a decade of ageing (even a few nights of insufficient sleep).
  • when receiving a flu vaccination after a few days of bad sleep, there is a 50% drop in antibody response

Can sleep deprivation have a negative effect on your immunity?

According to a study from Carnegie Mellon University’s psychology department, poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were related with reduced resistance to sickness. In other words, if you lack sleep, you increase your risk of contracting a cold.

Ways to improve your sleep

  • create a good routine and stick to it
  • do gentle activities to calm the body before going to bed
  • take a warm bath
  • relaxation audio, such as music or guided meditation, can also improve sleep
  • mindfulness and meditation activities, such as focusing your attention on your breathing, to help calm a busy, distracted mind

Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Alper CM, Janicki-Deverts D, Turner RB. Sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12;169(1):62-7. doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2008.505. PMID: 19139325; PMCID: PMC2629403.

Sandhu A, Seth M, Gurm HSDaylight savings time and myocardial infarctionOpen Heart 2014;1:e000019. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2013-000019

Leproult, R., & Van Cauter, E. (2011). Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men. JAMA305(21), 2173–2174.