Does everyone you encounter have the flu?
It’s a scary time of year, and this flu season seems to be particularly harsh. But there’s good news! Research has recently revealed sleep to be one of the factors that determine who gets sick and who doesn’t. If you’d written this off along with the old wives’ tale that getting your head cold makes you sick, it’s time to adjust your expectations. Wearing a beanie all winter won’t keep you well, but getting sufficient sleep just might.
Sleep and the Immune System
You already know that adequate sleep is essential to staying healthy, and that significant sleep deprivation can be devastating to the body. The relationship between sleep and immunity, however, adds a layer of complexity. Lack of sleep suppresses the immune system, decreasing your resistance to infection. Once you’re already sick, a lack of rest can keep you from getting better by limiting your body’s ability to fight the bug with a fever. We’re always for listening to your body when it says you need sleep, but that goes double when you’re not feeling well. When you’re genuinely ill, catching extra shuteye is especially important.
Having trouble falling asleep?
If you’re sick and taking cold and flu medicine, you’re probably conking out pretty quickly when your head hits the pillow. But if you’ve successfully avoided illness so far this season, sleeping well could be the key to extending your lucky streak. If you want to get more sleep but you’re just not nodding off, you might consider trying a natural sleep booster. Options include taking a supplement of melatonin (your body’s sleep hormone) and drinking decaf tea with chamomile, lavender, or valerian. For those who don’t want to take anything internally, diffusing an essential oil or blend that includes vetiver, lavender, or Roman chamomile can do the trick.
Sleep + Vitamins: A One-Two Punch
Getting sufficient high-quality sleep is a great way to boost your immune system, but there’s no reason you can’t use a combination of factors to stay healthy. Herbs and supplements have to be taken with care and under the supervision of your doctor, but many people believe them to have robust immune benefits. Phagocytes and T-cells need Vitamin C to function, zinc is often used to combat the common cold, and Echinacea has a reputation for fighting a variety of diseases. And don’t forget that exercise (not right before bed) flushes bacteria out of your system and mobilizes the cells that fight disease.
The Key to a Healthy Sleep Space
In sickness and health, it’s vital to maintain a sleep space that’s healthy for both your body and your mind. If your bed has begun to let you down (literally), negative health impacts are likely to develop. When you’re ready to set up your bed for the best, most nurturing sleep of your life, come visit the sleep experts at A Goodnight Sleepstore.