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Yes Poor Sleep Does Whack Your Immune System


Phoenix Rising Founder
A nice short but telling article in the New York Times indicates that (among other things) poor sleep weakens our immune systems leaving them open to pathogen attack. When you read about all these reactivated viruses you wonder how many of them ME/CFS patients could knock down if they could just get a good nights sleep!


September 22, 2009
The Claim: Lack of Sleep Increases the Risk of Catching a Cold.

THE FACTS As cold season approaches, many Americans stock up on their vitamin C and echinacea. But heeding the age-old advice about catching up on sleep might be more important.

Studies have demonstrated that poor sleep and susceptibility to colds go hand in hand, and scientists think it could be a reflection of the role sleep plays in maintaining the bodys defenses.

In a recent study for The Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists followed 153 men and women for two weeks, keeping track of their quality and duration of sleep. Then, during a five-day period, they quarantined the subjects and exposed them to cold viruses. Those who slept an average of fewer than seven hours a night, it turned out, were three times as likely to get sick as those who averaged at least eight hours.

Sleep and immunity, it seems, are tightly linked. Studies have found that mammals that require the most sleep also produce greater levels of disease-fighting white blood cells but not red blood cells, even though both are produced in bone marrow and stem from the same precursor. And researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have shown that species that sleep more have greater resistance against pathogens.

Species that have evolved longer sleep durations, the Planck scientists wrote, appear to be able to increase investment in their immune systems and be better protected.

THE BOTTOM LINE Research suggests that poor sleep can increase susceptibility to colds.

ANAHAD OCONNOR scitimes@nytimes.com


Senior Member

...as that is precisely what Martha Kilcoyne did to completely recover from CFS.

And then she climbed that mountain, remember?



work in progress
N. California
Yes, Martha made a major effort to get 10 hours of good sleep every night, and to take scheduled naps each day. The naps work well for me too, especially when my brain is in hyper mode, which usually means I'm over-tired and really need one.

Teitelbaum also stresses this in his book, that recovery from CFS is not possible until you begin to get at least 8 hours of recuperative sleep each night.
My latest relapse came from not being able to sleep for 4 nights running due to worrying about a relationship break-up ..so I have to agree that sleep is very important to our immune systems ..especially our cfs immune systems !


Senior Member

You could try sam-e and gaba. I use 200mg of sam-e and maybe 1,000mg of gaba. (i use powder gaba and put it in capsules myself so not entirely sure about the quantity.)

There are some caveats about sam-e..google for more info.. I think contraindicated for ppl using MAOI inhibitors?


Senior Member

Every remission I have ever had has come from going on a new sleep med, and thus for a time getting some decent sleep.

Alot of people start off with melatonin and some benadryl now and then.

With the pharmaceuticals (trazodone, the TCA's) it is important to start with very tiny doses. Your doctor may not know that you should start with very small doses.