How the immune system response to sleep

Before we get into the 21 Ways to boost the immune system before bed checklist, let’s look into how sleep and the immune system work together. Studies show sleep is a biological need and helps to maintain our health. Sufficient sleep is associated with reduced infection risk and boosts the immune systemview medical research.

Stress and anxiety also put high demands on the body and make people more suspectable, increasing the chance of catching a cold, flu and other viruses in our environment. One of the primary roles of sleep is to balance the nervous system helps to restore brain activated and can reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety.

There is communication between the nervous system and the immune system. At night the body makes T helpers cells, and growth hormone that boosts the adaptive immunity (long-lasting immunity) that leads to the development of antibodies, view medical research. Not enough sleep or missed night-time sleep can increase inflammatory cells called cytokines. The best long-term course of action is to modify your diet and lifestyle to reduce inflammation. Sleep is one of those lifestyle choices you can tweak to boost your immune system.

Improve sleep with my comprehensive before bed checklist.

How to improve sleep quality 

Improve your sleeping habits with sleep hygiene. It enhances and improves the quality of sleep, supporting and balancing your body each night. To improve your sleep, may I suggest that you follow the “Sleep Hygiene Checklist”.
If you are having trouble sleeping, do your best to align yourself with the checklist suggestions, and keep refining the process each night until you get success.

How long should you sleep for? 

Sleep duration varies depending on age. However, some people do well on 6 hours of sleep per night while others do better on 10 hours per night. These duration times are general in nature and should be used as a guideline to give you a benchmark. With that said here are some general duration times recommendations:

  • Adults need between 7-9 hours per night, no less than 6 hours or no more than 10 hours. Too long can be just as detrimental as too short. 
  • Toddlers age 1-2, need between 11-14 hours 
  • Preschool age 3-5, need between 10-13 hours
  • Children age 6-13, need between 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers age 14-17, need between 8-10 hours

The benefits of a good nights sleep 

  • More alert
  • More energy
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Better memory
  • Reduces reflux, GERD
  • Less chance of obesity
  • Improves weight loss
  • Reduces the risk of kidney disease
  • Reduces the risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Improves immune function
  • Reduces the risk of infection
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and mood disorders
  • Reduces symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Sleep improves any condition.

Before bed checklist – download Sleep Hygiene PDF

Click here to download the PDF 


21 ways to boost the immune system, before bed checklist

  1. Develop a sleeping routine that prepares your body for rest each night.
  2. Decide what time you want to go to bed. For the best sleep, I recommend around 9:00—10:00 pm, before cortisol levels start to build up at midnight.
  3. Make sure the bedroom temperate is comfortable for you. Ideally sleep at a temperature that is slightly cooler than your body temperature.
  4. Have a warm bath to relax your mind and body and prepare you for sleep. Take it up a level, add 1 cup of Epsom Salts to enhance muscle relaxation. 
  5. Eating a small amount of protein before going to bed, it may help you sleep through the night. An example of the amount and protein—one mouthful of chicken
  6. Spray lavender in the bedroom 10 minutes before going to bed.
  7. Is the room dark enough? If not, wear a sleep mask.
  8. If noises are bothering you consider earplugs, white noise from a fan or soft relaxing music playing in the background that you can go to sleep too.
  9. Limit daytime naps to 20-minutes or less. Longer naps can interfere with your normal sleep cycle.
  10. Don’t work in bed. It is a place to rest and sleep.
  11. Are the sheets clean, fresh, and is the bed made correctly?
  12. Limit alcohol, caffeine and nicotine at least 3-4 hours before bed. These are stimulants and will keep you awake or disturb your sleep.
  13. Eat your dinner at least 3-4 hours before going to bed.
  14. Go to the toilet just before you go to bed. This can prevent you from getting up during the night to empty the bladder.
  15. Limit exercised in the last 3-4 hours before bed. The best time to exercise is in the morning before breakfast.
  16. When you get home and before you retire, write down anything you have to do the next day, so it is not bothering you during the night.
  17. If taking natural remedies, make sure they are suitable and don’t stimulate you if taken at night. For example, taking B-vitamins after midday can disturb your sleep.
  18. Relax into rest with diaphragmatic breathing. Lie down on your bed, facing up and place your hands on your belly. Start by slowly breathing in through your nose and then release the breath gentled out through the mouth. Focus on moving the hands up and down on your belly as you breathe in and out. Do this until relaxed.
  19. Calm down a busy mind with Mindfulness mediation. On your bed lay down with your front-facing up and your hand by you sides, like in the Savasana yoga position. Breath in and out through the nose and bring you awareness to the sensation of air moving through the nostrils, if you mind drifts bring you awareness back to the feeling of air moving through the nostrils. Repeat until calm.
  20. If you cannot sleep, don’t watch the clock it creates more stress and anxiety.
  21. No pets, moving around the house or on the bed? Train your pets to sleep on their bed.
  22. If you can’t sleep, it may be useful to do a saliva sleep profile that measures cortisol and melatonin levels.

How to use this information

The suggestions here are general in nature and do not take into account your specific needs. Before you make changes to your routine or embark on any herbs or nutritional supplements, it is wise to check with your health care professional. 

Arrange your FREE No-Obligation Meeting 

As a community service, I am making myself available to do my best to provide some advice, every Monday from 9:00 am to 9:30 am (Australian eastern standard time). Ring if there are any aspects of your diet or supplements that you would like to discuss or clarify. Prefer to arrange you FREE No-Obligation meeting online click here to book 

In health and wisdom
Phone: +61 409 278 320

Brendon Groves naturopath
Written by:
Brendon Groves
Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner
Founder of “Groves Naturopathics” and “The Groves Lifestyle Diet
Adv. Dip. H. Sc. Nat, Dip. H. Sc. H.M., Dip. H. Sc. Nut.
Advance Diploma of Naturopathy, Diploma of Nutrition, Diploma of Herbal Medicine.
Special interests in:

  • Weight loss
  • Digestive issues
  • Anxiety and mood disorders
  • Immune support