World Sleep Day
Today, on World Sleep Day, we’re looking at how a good night’s sleep can impact our immune system, in turn affecting our oral health.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. Sleep plays a crucial role in our physical and mental well-being, affecting everything from our mood to our immune system’s functioning.
The Immune System
Your immune system is responsible for preventing infections and for fighting back against infections if they enter your body. Keeping your mouth healthy can help strengthen your immune system and ensure that you can protect yourself against common viruses and illnesses.
It’s important to first understand how the immune system works. Our immune system is responsible for defending our body against infections and diseases. It’s a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to recognise and fight off pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. When our immune system detects a threat, it produces antibodies that target and destroy the invading pathogens.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. These cytokines are essential for the body’s defence against infections and diseases. Studies have shown that when we don’t get enough sleep, our body produces fewer cytokines, which can weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to oral infections.
We also produce T-cells during sleep, a type of white blood cell that helps our body to recognise and destroy pathogens. If your body must send these immune cells to your mouth to deal with oral health issues, it simply won’t be able to send as many immune cells to other parts of your body, weakening your overall immune response.
Not only this, but while you’re sleeping, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones which help your body to repair itself. The blood flow to our muscles increases, supplying them with fresh oxygen and nutrients. This is the same for the teeth, with sleeping repairing your blood vessels to allow for the successful transporting of essential nutrients such as calcium and phosphate to the bone tissues of your teeth. This strengthens and replenishes your tooth enamel.
What Can You Do to Promote Sleep?
- Headspace/Calm apps to relax
- Use CBD oil to decrease anxiety
- Use lavender oil to induce a calming effect
- Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day
- Reduce blue light exposure in the evening
- Optimise your bedroom environment - temperature/noise/light
- Don’t eat late in the evening
- Exercise regularly - but not before bed
If you’re actively trying to promote sleep and your sleep problems are worsening or persisting over a long period of time, it might be worth speaking to a professional to rule out the possibility of a sleep disorder or another health condition.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. By ensuring that we get enough sleep, we can strengthen our immune system and reduce our risk of contracting oral infections and diseases. To promote sleep, it’s important to establish a regular sleep schedule and create a relaxing sleep environment. By prioritising our sleep, we can improve our overall health and well-being.