Remember to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

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It’s more important than ever to maintain regularity.

For a very long time, the one aspect of my health that I have been steadfastly uncompromising on is my sleep cycle. Six to eight hours every night without fail. Yeah, I miss out on some late night shenanigans, and I don’t get to converse with my night owl friends for as long as I’d like, but even so, sleep is one of the most important functions of a healthy human body.

A regular eight-hour sleep cycle keeps your body energized and productive. When you’re tired, not only are your cognitive capabilities impaired (to a mildly amusing degree, I admit), but your body doesn’t have as much juice to perform its regular processes. Sleep is a time for your body to repair any minor strains and stresses accumulated throughout the day, and there’s always a few.

More importantly, though, sleep helps you maintain a healthy and functional immune system. During sleep, your body produces a higher level of cytokines, a protein that activates in the presence of infection and inflammation. To use a metaphor, cytokines are like the security guard standing vigilant at the gate to your body. When sickness comes knocking, he sounds the alarm and the immune system leaps into action. If he’s exhausted and asleep on the job, viruses can just waltz right in and take the whole place over before anyone notices.

Some people find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, especially if they’ve been sedentary for a good portion of the day. If you’re having trouble getting properly sleepy, do some quick calisthenics before bed to wear yourself out (and get a quick burn in the process). Alternatively, you might have a mild chemical imbalance. Try a small melatonin supplement to get things back in gear, though try not to rely too heavily on those.