With the uncertainties the world is currently facing we’re being told to wash our hands regularly as well as practise social distancing. But did you know that sleep, relaxation and diet can play a significant role in boosting your immune system? When sleep, stress and diet are managed effectively, your immune system can help guard your body from illnesses like the cold and flu. Read on to find out why each of these can reduce your likelihood of waking up with the dreaded sniffles.
1. Recharge your diet
I know it sounds cliché, but eating a balanced diet can improve your immunity. According to Brian Kateman from Forbes, there is increasing evidence that not eating enough of the right nutrients can weaken the immune system and make us more vulnerable to infections. To keep our immune system happy, it needs to be fuelled with enough energy to make immune cells through macronutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as essential amino and fatty acids. Stocking up on a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein will ensure the immune system is better equipped to keep us healthy. Consider stocking up on long-lasting foods like frozen vegetables, fruit, lentils, canned tuna and nuts to minimise leaving the house while social distancing measures are in place.
We’re all feeling stressed right now, and it’s no surprise that this alone can impact our immune system. Ongoing stress, according to Psychology Today makes us more susceptible to illness and disease. This is because when we are under stress, our brain sends signals to the endocrine system, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. This can severely depress the immune system in the long-term. With the current situation, it’s best to try and manage your fears. A good strategy is taking breaks from social media and ensuring you only rely on trusted media sources for information. Other ways to de-stress could include taking a walk outside, curling up with your favourite book, meditating or practising yoga. Even spending time with your furry friend is a great way to help relieve any anxiety you may feel.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is getting enough shut eye. While more sleep won’t necessarily prevent you from getting the dreaded lurgy, skimping on it can adversely affect your immune system, leaving you susceptible to falling unwell. Just one night of poor sleep can reduce your immune cells by as much as 70%. This is because without sufficient sleep your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein which targets infection and inflammation effectively, so try and stick to the recommended 7-9 hours each night. If your sleep schedule is interrupted, try to make up for the lost rest with naps. Taking two 30 minute naps: one in the morning, one in the afternoon has been shown to decrease stress levels and offset the negative effect sleep deprivation has on the immune system according to the Sleep Health Foundation.
Of course, there’s more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample sleep, eating a balanced diet and maintaining your stress. It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and limit smoking where possible. And do remember, even if you do come down with the dreaded sniffles, you’ll be able to bounce back a lot faster if you try our three immune-boosting strategies.
Stay well, Snoozers.
- https://www.insider.com/5-things-boost-immune-system-coronavirus-sleep-exercise-vitamin-d-2020 \3#dont-drink-bleach-11