We all know how important sleep is to your overall health. The amount of sleep you receive each night directly affects a number of things, including your immunity. Without adequate sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines – a protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, and a lack of sleep interrupts this cycle. Additionally, a lack of sleep can cause the flu vaccine to be less effective because it reduces your body’s ability to respond. Naps do well for the immune system as well. If your sleep is disturbed by a hectic workweek, children, etc., try making up for it with naps. Two naps no longer than 30 minutes each – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – have been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects sleep deprivation has on the immune system. Read more about how sleep can affect your health.