Getting a lot of sleep is vitally important when you are sick. In fact, it is so important, the body puts you into something called Sick Sleepiness in order to force you to sleep.
Why do we need so much sleep when we are sick?
When you go to sleep, your body’s immune system and janitorial crew go to work.
There are several automatic immune defenses that get deployed during sleep. As your body forces you to slow down, it performs the following functions:
- Encoding: The immune system goes on the hunt for foreign bacteria or viruses.
- Consolidation: The immune system gathers and communicates front line data about any foreign invaders it encounters.
- Recall: Every immune cell commits to memory through its genes, exactly what weapons (Proteins) worked in destroying specific types of bacteria or viruses. This weapon manufacturing memory is called into action any time the invaders return.
Concurrent with the automatic immune defense system, your body’s janitorial system does the following while you sleep:
- Damaged cells are repaired.
- Cells infected with viruses, that have been killed by your immune system, are dismantled and cleared away.
- Old, end of life cells, are dismantled and replaced by new cells.
- In the brain, the Glymphatic System is called into action while you sleep, sending lympatic fluid where it is needed inside the brain, in order to remove dead cells or cells that have been damaged beyond repair.