Insufficient sleep, such as sleeping less than 6 hours, has many negative effects on your body. And, one of these negative effects is that insufficient sleep can result in inflammation in the body.

Stress and the Immune Response

First and foremost, insufficient sleep, such as sleeping less than 6 hours, creates stress. And, when you are in stress your body goes into a fight or flight mode. Consequently, this causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol.

Most of all, cortisol’s job is to suppress non-essential functions like immune response and digestion. By the way, immune response is how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign or harmful. So, by suppressing the immune response, stress prevents your body from defending itself against these elements.


Meanwhile, inflammation is the body’s response to a threat such as bacteria, viruses, or even psychological or emotional stress. Therefore, in response to the stress caused by insufficient sleep, inflammation in the body increases.

Proinflammatory Cytokines

In addition, stress causes the immune system to send out proinflammatory cytokines. Regrettably, these proinflammatory cytokines just makes the inflammation even worse.

By the way, these proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-17 (IL-17), are small proteins that are secreted by cells of the immune system. Regrettably, these proinflammatory cytokines produce fever, inflammation, tissue destruction, and, in some cases, even death.


Furthermore, the proinflammatory cytokines increase production of C-reactive proteins, or CRP. By the way, CRP is a ring-shaped protein whose levels rise whenever there is inflammation in the body. In fact, the presence of CRP is an indicator of systemic inflammation in the body. So, increased CRP concentrations in blood, is a marker that shows there is inflammation in the body.

Chronic Inflammation

Regrettably, when stress is chronic, the cycle of cortisol production and inflammatory response also becomes chronic. As a result, proinflammatory cytokine levels rise. Moreover, this increase, not only hampers the body’s ability to fight infection and heal wounds, but chronic inflammation also increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases including type 2 diabetes.

Also, with chronic inflammation, the body’s immune system keeps activating disease-fighting cells that have nothing to fight. So over time, these cells attack, wear down and damage healthy cells, tissues, organs and other system throughout the body. And this leads to chronic illness.

Therefore, it is important to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.


Finally, a 1997 study published in the journal Sleep found that a night of insufficient sleep boosted stress hormones the next evening. And, these high levels of stress hormones in the evening makes it even more difficult to sleep the following night.

So How Do You Recover

First, it’s important to get those stress levels down the day after a night of insufficient sleep. And, some of the best ways of doing that are listed below.

  1. Drink a cup of coffee or other high caffeine drink in the morning to help you stay awake throughout the day.
  2. And, if you have time, go for walk in the sun. Because, the sun will wake you up and shake off your sleep inertia.
  3. Also, if you can, get in a workout.
  4. Next, eat small meals throughout the day.
  5. However, avoid sugary and carb-heavy foods.
  6. Instead, eat lean protein and healthy fats with each meal.
  7. In addition, if you need to, take a short nap in the afternoon.
  8. Finally, drink water throughout the day.

And What Can You Do to Sleep well in the First Place

  1. First, if you just can’t sleep, get up and leave the bedroom to read a soothing book that will make you sleepy. However, read it on a couch under a soft light.
  2. Second, avoid doing office or other related work before bedtime.
  3. Third, avoid having, emotionally upsetting conversations before going to bed.
  4. Fourth, avoid watching scary movies or reading thrilling novels before bedtime.
  5. Next, give yourself a foot massage. In fact, a soothing, relaxing foot massage helps the body unwind, improves blood circulation, and helps relax nerves. And, these, in turn, will encourage restful sleep.
  6. Also, you can decompress before bed by taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, meditating, or reading a soothing book.
  7. Meanwhile, too much alcohol can disrupt your sleep by interfering with your sleep cycle.
  8. Because food won’t have time to be digested, do not have dinner or heavy foods at least one hour before bedtime.
  9. Also, avoid foods and drinks with caffeine after two in the afternoon.
  10. Next, remove computer screens, cell phones, tablets, television, bright clocks, and other such devices from the bedroom.
  11. Finally, Melatonin or similar tablets may help. However, it’s best to see your health care provider to make sure it’s the right choice for you.