Sleep related Immunodeficiency and Auto-Immune disease

1 August 2019/ Sleep Related Issues

Does Sleep Disturbance Cause Immune System Disease?

Some auto-immune and immune deficiency diseases you're just born with. So chronic lack of sleep offers no causal explanation of those conditions, although it may well make them worse. 

But many others develop during the course of living life.  Here chronic sleep disturbance often plays as causal role.

Sleep and Immune response

We often overlook that sleep helps to regulate immune response.  And we also tend to forget that the immune system is at its strongest when you sleep.  

Given we know those things, it should come as no surprise that chronic sleep disturbance can bring about immune system dysregulation. 

In fact it's no secret that chronic sleep disturbance can weaken immunity to colds and other infections. Everybody knows that.  What's less well known but still nevertheless true is the part chronic sleep disturbance plays to cause immunodeficiency and auto-immune diseases.  In fact  Sleep disturbance shows up in the pathogenesis pathways of both types of conditions as a  significant and independent causal factor.

This is because of the way the long term stress of sleep disturbance brings on immune dysregulation.  The immune system and endocrine system adopt a new (but stable) balance of immune-regulating agents.  The chronic stress produces the new balance.  And the same chronic stress causes this new balance to be very undesirable. 

Exactly what happens depends. Sometimes parts of the immune system attack healthy cells.  Sometimes the immune system simply gets suppressed when it should be active. 

The details of when and how are beyond the scope of this little article.  In fact, those details are still an "understanding in development" in the scientific medical literature.  But we can discover some things from the literature. It does describe how a new dynamic between pro-inflammatory factors and anti-inflammatory factors gets set up.  And the new dynamic causes multiple dysfunctions.

So both kinds of disease can share chronic sleep disturbance as a significant link in their causal chain.

Thus, not only does chronic sleep loss exacerbate diseases like Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis and many more.  But it's also actually a significant and independent causal factor for those diseases.


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