Improve Your Sleep & Boost Your Immune System
To start a new path towards better sleep and a healthier lifestyle, you need to start by assessing your own personal needs and habits.
Pay cautious attention to your mood, energy and health after a bad night's sleep vs a good night’s sleep. Like a healthy diet and daily exercise, sleep is a significant part of our health.
To create a plan for getting better sleep, you can follow these simple yet effective sleep tips:
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Exercise every day.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Don’t drink alcohol and caffeine to close to your bedtime.
- Don’t go on / turn off electronics before bed.
Sleep is a fundamental sign of overall health and well-being. Many know that getting a healthy night’s sleep is essential, but too few of us truly get those 7-9 hours of sleep.
To make matters more difficult, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interferes with our "circadian rhythm" or natural sleep/wake cycle.
Sleep needs differ through ages and are particularly impacted by our lifestyle and health. To establish how much sleep you need to be getting every night, it's imperative to consider where you fall on the "sleep needs spectrum”.
You also need to assess what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.
Sleep Can Help Boost Our Immune System
Although getting more sleep will not automatically prevent you from getting ill, getting less sleep could negatively affect your immune system, this would leave you vulnerable to getting a cold or case of the flu. Here is what you need to know to keep your immune system up with sleep.
Sleep and Cytokines
Without enough sleep, our body makes less cytokines, this is a type of protein that targets illness / viruses and inflammation, successfully making an immune response. Cytokines are both created and released while we sleep, causing a problem if we get less sleep. Did you know that chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by decreasing our body’s aptitude to respond?
Taking Naps Through The Day
To ensure you are staying healthy, particularly for the duration of the flu season, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This will aid to keep our immune systems in good shape, and defend us from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
If our sleep schedule is disturbed by a hectic week or additional issues, we can try to take more naps for the lost sleep.
The best way to incorporate naps is by taking 2 naps that are not longer than 30 mins each —one in the late morning around 11am and one in the late afternoon around 3pm. This technique has been displayed to help reduce our stress and balance the damaging effects that sleep deficiency has on our immune system.
The Sleep Foundation