A recent Yale University study has linked disturbed sleep to a
reduced immune system, which makes sleep deprived people more
likely to get sick.
The researchers found that the circadian clock, which is the
genetic mechanism which regulates our sleep, controls the level of
a gene vital to our immune system. Tests on mice showed that the
gene TLR-9 was linked the cycle, and when the gene was most active,
it was able to respond best to bacteria and viruses. The mice also
showed a better response to infection and vaccinations.
This principal is likely to be the same in humans, and it is
possible that disruptions to the cycle could make us more
susceptible to illness. This research also has an impact on
long-haul travel, as jet lag may contribute directly to
For those who don't plan to travel to exotic far-away
destinations, there are several tips that can help you get properly
rested at night. Cutting caffeine out after a certain time, and
avoiding alcohol as a sleep aid is important. Making sure you are
relaxed in a comfortable environment also helps. A dark room and a
good mattress will make you feel
drowsy and ready for rest.
Posted by Michael Ewing