The secret is out (and it’s not found on a drug store shelf)! There are lots of ways to boost your immunity naturally – many that you can do without too much extra effort (just healthy decision making).
Here are 10 secrets to boosting your immunity this winter.
1) Get Enough Sleep
This is something that is on everyone’s to-do list but rarely ends up “to-done”. Getting the correct amount of sleep is important for your health for a number of reasons. Studies have shown that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. And that makes sense – when we let ourselves get run down and wore out, so does our immune system.
It’s like turning off your own personal force field against bacteria and viruses. What we want to do is pump it up, not let it down. And a lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. Getting the proper amount of sleep on a regular basis will not only keep your “shields up”, but also improve your body’s defenses if you do end up under the weather.
How intertwined is your sleep and staying? When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These proteins help to promote sleep and increase in number when you have an infection, inflammation, or stress. If you don’t get the amount of sleep you need, you’ll produce less cytokines that are needed during times of infection and stress. A lack of sleep also decreases your body’s ability to produce infection-fighting cells (antibodies) that are the tools your immune system needs to combat disease. Put that all together and your disease-battling army becomes less likely to fend off attackers – the “odds are not in your favor”!
What’s the right amount of sleep for you? Listen to your body’s signals. The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep. But more is not always better - for adults, sleeping more than nine to 10 hours a night may result in poor quality of sleep, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.
That’s the first of 10 healthy ways to boost your immune system. Check back later this week for the more ways to power through this cold season (and weather) to maintain a happy, healthy you.