Why a Good Night’s Sleep is Critical to Getting Your Immune System Ready

At night, when we are getting ready to sleep, our brains produce a type of fairy dust that helps us drift off to sleep. This natural hormone is called melatonin and is what helps us fall and stay asleep throughout the night.

Sleep is critical for allowing the body to perform its daily maintenance and repair on our organs, brain, and immune system. It is well known that sleep deprivation has devastating effects on our health and wellbeing.

But melatonin has a far more important role in the body than just putting us to sleep.  It has very potent anti-inflammatory actions and protects the body from oxidative damage. The research has been a flood with papers around melatonin’s protective effects against COVID-19 and here is why:

1.     Melatonin can reduce blood vessel permeability one of the key features of triggering the blood clots that we currently see in COVID patients.

2.     Although not directly antiviral, there is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases through its immune modulating properties and studies have shown that the use of melatonin caused a decreased viral load.

3.     The bloods of patients with COVID-19 have a marked increase in inflammatory markers such as Interleukins and interferons. In one study melatonin intake of 10 mg/d,6 mg/d and 5 mg/d of melatonin for less than 5 days induced a reduced level of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

4.     In one study, 8 weeks of melatonin (6mg/d) caused a significant decrease in serum levels of inflammatory markers in diabetic patients.


Sleeping well is critical to both repairing the immune system and directly reducing inflammation, so here are my top sleep tips:

  1. Limit screen time the hour before bed as the light from screens inhibit the natural release of melatonin.
  3. Use blue light blocking glasses if using a computer or phone at night. Some devices have the option to block blue light.
  5. Make sure you are exposed to at least 30 minutes of daylight, as the body requires daylight to produce the building blocks for melatonin.
  7. Avoid eating a heavy meal up to 3 hours before bedtime.
  9. Limit alcohol. Alcohol is sedating but has a paradoxical effect of causing awakenings during the night.,
  11. Avoid too much stimulation in the evenings such as late-night news and stimulating TV shows.
  13. Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings if you have difficulty falling asleep
  15. Allow your mind to relax and unwind at least an hour before bedtime. If this is  challenging to you, try journaling, relaxation breathing, progressive  relaxation, guided imagery, listening to soft music, taking a relaxation bath, with lavender essential oils and Epsom salts is desired.
  17. Aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise daily to help support sleep, but don’t do it too close to bedtime if you know you’re prone to being over-stimulated by it.
  19. Keep a sleep routine. Go to sleep and arise at the same time each day, including weekends. Retire between 10 and 11pm for the healthiest melatonin production and restorative sleep.
  21. Herbal remedies can be very helpful in remediating chronic sleep issues. I highly recommend Jean Dow, who is a very skilled Medical Herbalist.


Melatonin supplements have a remarkably high safety record. At this stage, where we really must optimise immune repair during sleep, I would suggest a low dosage of a high-quality supplemental melatonin. Get in touch if you would like more information.



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