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Description: Not feeling well? Perhaps a good night’s sleep is just what you need. Even if you believe this to be true do you know why it is true? What is actually going on at the cellular level in our immune system while rest and recover? No idea? Well, have a read through the article linked below to see what a recent study is suggesting about what sleep does for us and what the costs of sleep deprivation could involve at the cellular level.

Source: New Study Pinpoints Why Sleep is Often the Best Medicine Chris Bergland, The Athlete’s Way, Psychology Today.

Date: February 12, 2019

Photo Credit: Dimitrov et al, 2019

 Article Link:

Rather than just being interesting in terms of what is going on in our immune system at a microscopic level the article linked above points in two directions. It certainly suggests a line of inquiry and potential development that could postnatally lead to treatment strategies that involve nudging and supporting the natural actions of the immune system. In addition, however, the article also shows that research and development work done at the cellular level can actually support the sorts of folksy, holistic examples of health advice captures by the Irish saying quoted in the article: “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are “T cells” and what role do they play in the functioning of our immune system?
  2. What do sleep, and sleep deprivation, do to our sleep cells?
  3. How might old sayings be of assistance in guiding our research at the cellular level?

References (Read Further):

Dimitrov, S., Lange, T., Gouttefangeas, C., Jensen, A. T., Szczepanski, M., Lehnnolz, J., … & Besedovsky, L. (2019). Gαs-coupled receptor signaling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells. Journal of Experimental Medicine, jem-20181169.

Sakaguchi, S., Yamaguchi, T., Nomura, T., & Ono, M. (2008). Regulatory T cells and immune tolerance. Cell, 133(5), 775-787.

Kamdar, B. B., Needham, D. M., & Collop, N. A. (2012). Sleep deprivation in critical illness: its role in physical and psychological recovery. Journal of intensive care medicine, 27(2), 97-111.