As most of the country turns its focus on how to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading, The Hartford Courant reports on how sleep can strengthen the immune system.

Few things beat feeling well-rested, and you can thank cytokines for that. These proteins are released when you sleep and help combat infection, irritation, and inflammation.

When you narrow your sleep window — sometimes referred to as sleep deprivation — there’s less time for cytokines to do their job. As a result, when fewer cytokines are released, your body is more likely to feel the toll of stress and illness, which explains the “slowing down” you experience after a night of not sleeping well.

Well-regulated cytokines are essential to a good night’s sleep, which is why sleep experts recommend committing to a healthy and regular sleep schedule. This lets your body get adequate rest and lets those cytokines get to work. Whenever possible, rise and rest at the same time each day. While it takes some sleep training to get in the swing of things, it’s well worth the short-term and long-term benefits.

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