The Link Between Stress, Immunity and Sleep
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
With the pandemic impacting our lives in so many ways, let us take this opportunity as the holidays get closer to be grateful, to create new family traditions and to lower our stress. As stress and immunity are closely intertwined, it is no secret that stress reduction has the power to improve our well-being. While our stressors this year may look different from past holiday seasons, the overall impact of prolonged stress on our bodies is the same: chronic stress leads to underlying inflammation and dysfunction throughout the body. And the more we learn about COVID the more we understand the detrimental effect that inflammation has on recovery. So an integral step in boosting one’s immunity - now more important than ever - is controlling one’s stress response.
The holiday season traditionally compounds stress, as we try to balance finances, find the perfect gifts, avoid annoying relatives, bake enough cookies for family & friends, not overindulge in holiday food and spirits, etc. One way to help relieve stress is improving our sleep. The National Sleep Foundation provides some tips for improving sleep during the holidays.
One tip that GLIM commonly suggests for improving sleep is taking a quality melatonin supplement such as Melatonin SR 3mg by Pure Encapsulations 60minutes before bedtime (Typical dosing varies wildly from 0.3mg to 20mg with the latter used in the oncological setting but as with all supplements GLIM recommends starting low and increasing as needed).Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and during viral infections melatonin reduces inflammation. In addition to improving sleep, melatonin may be a viable treatment option for COVID-19 patients, as a recent study in led by the Cleveland Clinic suggests. The patient data from the study reveals that a nearly 30 percent reduction in positive COVID-19 is seen with melatonin usage. As adults we have age-related declines in melatonin, and this is one of the proposed explanations as to why children appear to have less severe COVID symptoms. Obviously more research is needed to validate this preliminary data, but ample research already exists to support the benefits of melatonin on sleep. So let’s get our sleep on!