Part 1. Sleep, stress and sickness, are they interrelated?

Sleep…we all know how good it feels when we wake rested, and we all know (and I’m sure others do!) when we don’t.

Sleep is where all the magic happens, and I’m not talking about your dreams. Sleep is a natural homeostatic process that involves many Psycho, Neuro, and Immune changes that are carefully orchestrated to keep you in balance.

What I want to educate you all on (in two parts) is a new field of study known as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI is ” the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body” What does this tells us? we have a mind body connection, and it’s powerful. So powerful in fact that even the stress of being cold can tap into the same immune system-nervous system loop that triggers symptoms of the common cold!. you having a laugh right? unfortunately not.

I’ll keep part 1 just to sleep.

So where does sleep fit into all of this? Nocturnal sleep has profound benefits to regulate our immunity. Our biological clock (Circadian rhythm) only affects some aspects of our immunity. Where sleep is the primary factor. Sleep influences two important pathways named the Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).YES, big words (nerd alert!) but think of these two as hormone regulators. The HPA and SNS are important at regulating stress hormones such as Cortisol and Epinephrine.

What happens when sleep is restricted, broken or chronic?. Remember our HPA axis? our HPA axis releases cortisol and up-regulation of pro-inflammatory’s, such as interleukin to name one. HPA trigger a release via the hypothalamus gland, into our tissues and lymph organs, and thus we have a mini cascade of events…which can suppress our immunity, and you can do the math what can happen after this…

So what should be happening?

Simply, with adequate sleep 6-8 hours.(HGH) Human growth hormone will be doing its anabolic job to proliferate cell growth and repair. And our nasty stress hormones should be lying dormant.

Are sleep, stress and sickness interrelated?

YOU BET!

I hope you have learnt something interesting and new?

James

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