SCIENTISTS HAVE FOUND that getting an extra bit of shut-eye does actually enhance the immune system’s response and recovery to infection.
The findings of this research, which used fruitflies, was published in the journal SLEEP yesterday.
“It’s an intuitive response to want to sleep when you get sick,” noted Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology research associate Julie Williams. “Many studies have used sleep deprivation as a means to understand how sleep contributes to recovery, if it does at all, but there is surprisingly little experimental evidence that supports the notion that more sleep helps us to recover.”
Fruitflies were subjected to sleep deprivation before being infected. Results saw both sleep deprived and non-sleep-deprived flies slept more after infection – something experimenters called an ‘acute sleep response’.
Surprisingly, the sleep-deprived flies survived longer after the infection than the ones who were not sleep-deprived because they slept for longer during the infection period.
In a second study, scientists regulated the sleep patterns of the flies and those induced to sleep more and for longer periods of time showed substantially greater survival rates. The flies with more sleep also showed faster and more efficient rates of clearing the bacteria from their bodies.
“The take-home message from these papers is that when you get sick, you should sleep as much as you can – we now have the data that supports this idea,” Williams said.
Read: Global breakthrough: Irish scientists discover how to mass produce ‘wonder material’ graphene>