Sleep: Your Secret Weapon Against Illness
If you’re still sleeping on an old, worn, or uncomfortable mattress, you’re not just running the risk of feeling grumpy the next day. Adequate, quality sleep is important for a host of reasons, not least its ability to strengthen and enhance your immune system.
How Does Sleep Make You Resilient?
Proper sleep ensures that your body makes enough of an important compound called cytokines. These powerhouse proteins, when combined with antibodies and immune system cells, are your body’s first line of defense against microscopic invaders. The catch: these compounds, immune cells, and antibodies are only produced during sleep. If you can’t sleep, your body can’t protect you as well–it’s like having a safe to protect your valuables, but leaving the door wide open.
Tips To Stay Well
Everyone knows that they feel more like sleeping when they’re sick, but how do you prioritize sleep during what is, for some, the busiest part of the year? Here’s a few tips to keep your immune system in fighting shape:
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps your body know when to release hormones that can help you feel awake or sleepy.
Avoid screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, including those from phones. Keep a dark bedroom, too–use clocks without lit faces and be sure to cover any LED charger lights.
Make sure your mattress, bedding, and bedroom are all comfortable. Most people sleep better if the bedroom is kept cool, so turn the heat down at night–this saves energy, too!
Don’t neglect other ways to prevent illness: eat a healthy diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, see your doctor for a checkup, wash your hands regularly, and be sure you’re up to date on any immunizations that your doctor recommends, such as your annual flu shot.
The holidays can be stressful for a lot of people. This year, be sure that you’re not going to be sneezing your way through the festivities, and set your immune system up for success: get your zzzz’s!
Lack Of Sleep – www.mayoclinic.org
Can Better Sleep Mean Catching Fewer Colds? – www.WebMd.com