Aug 08, 2022


How does sleep help your immune system?

Feeling tired and run down? Getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to help support your immune system.

Sleep and immune system function are closely linked. When you’re getting enough sleep, this can help to strengthen your immune system. Conversely, your sleep can be disrupted when your immune system is responding to anything that may not belong to your body in it’s efforts to keep you healthy1.

But just how is the immune system strengthened by sleep?

Sleep affects a wide variety of immune functions. For example, when we’re asleep, the body produces a careful balance of cytokines, small proteins that play an important part in the body’s immune response, helping your immune system to manage anything that may not belong to your body as you sleep2.

Not getting enough sleep can affect your overall health and daily life, but what does lack of sleep do to your immune system?

Can lack of sleep cause a weak immune system?

A prolonged lack of sleep is associated with a lower immune response and can make it harder for your immune system to keep you healthy2. It can also increase the risk of a number of diseases such as diabetes, neurodegeneration and arteriosclerosis1.

And it’s not just your physical health that a lack of sleep can affect. Not getting enough sleep can also negatively impact your mental health, leading you to feel anxious or depressed3.

How to get a good night’s sleep

Along with eating a healthy balanced diet, getting enough exercise and effectively managing stress, getting a good night's sleep is important when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and supporting your immune system’s normal function.

Here are a few adjustments to your bedtime routine that might give you the best shot at getting the sleep you need:

  • Set regular sleep patterns. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each night can help you sleep better4.
  • Unplug electronic devices at bedtime. Electronic devices like your mobile phone tend to emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light which can keep you awake5.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine and alcohol can prevent you from falling asleep in the first place and get in the way of your deep sleep. It’s best to avoid them both before bedtime4.
  • Create a tranquil sleeping space. Make your sleeping space as calm and relaxing as possible. Try dim, soft lighting, a good mattress and a comfortable temperature.

If you’re experiencing problems with your sleep or want to improve your sleep quality, plenty of resources are available to support you, such as NHS Every Mind Matters. In addition, you can always speak to your GP, who can advise you about the best way to manage it and find ways to help you get those all-important hours of sleep!


*Actimel Core, Plus, Dairy Free & 00 range contain Vitamins D and B6 to help support the normal function of the immune system. Actimel kids contains vitamin D to support the normal function of the immune system in children. **Actimel 0% Fat 0% Added Sugars : No added sugars, contains naturally occurring sugars. ***Except for Actimel Kids range. ****Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism. △RI: Reference intake of an average adult (8400 KJ/2000 Kcal) (as per Food Information Regulations). Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.