Human bodies are very complex systems and our collective understanding of the working represents only a few buckets in the ocean. The father of sleep, Dr. William C Dement, and his team discovered in 1952 that our eyes move in a specific stage (REM sleep) when we sleep every night. 🛌
While Dr. Dement was stalking sleeping subjects with lots of electrodes in his lab, 5000 miles away at the University of Glasgow, Alick Isaacs and J. Lindenmann were studying how our immune system works. They found some amazing proteins that boosted the immune system called cytokines. However, it wasn’t until the beginning of this millennium that a firm relation between sleep and cytokines was established. It turns out these proteins are produced when we sleep. Sleep deprivation results in a shortage of these proteins which weakens our firewalls against the viruses that we daily interact with – our precious immune system. Our susceptibility to catching a common cold increases manifolds just by sleeping less! 😢
Similarly when we do fall ill because of the viruses abundantly around us, sleeping and resting more than usual produces more cytokines to strengthen our immune system and helping us recover faster. Cytokines are secreted more during NREM sleep as compared to REM. Naturally, during illness and fever caused due to it, NREM sleep stages are enhanced and REM sleep is suppressed. This results in the greater production of our new favorite protein to help fight the illness better.
Our body is probably the most complex system, one which we’re still trying to understand and still keep discovering new insights even in the 21st century. Our understanding of it is the same as our understanding of the deep space or the deep ocean. But, one theme has been reinforced over time; if one toys with the processes and tendencies that naturally exist, the result more often than not is a catastrophe. Sleep is one of the most important processes and we all should go with the flow and shut the alarms. 💣⏰
We at Dozee want to help every individual with such insights to sleep well and get more healthy. If you have any feedback or query, we’re just a message away. Write to me at [email protected]
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.