As we go through another winter under a cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are asking, “What can we do to keep healthy?” Are there ways to boost the immune system and ward off COVID-19, the flu, head colds, and other illnesses?
The answer is yes! That being said, there are no magic wands (or magic pills!) The best way to keep your immune system functioning as well as possible is to take the necessary steps to stay healthy. As boring as that may sound, it’s tried and true! Here’s what you can do to help keep you and your family safe from the cold and flu this season:
5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
#1 Make Healthy Sleep a Priority
Too few people realize just how important sleep is to their immune system. We all need sleep to refresh and recharge our bodies, from newborns to senior citizens. When we’re asleep, our body is hard at work. Studies show 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 a common cold or flu virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called “cytokines.” Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, like when you’re fighting off a virus. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough sleep. All of this is a very scientific way of saying that your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases.
You can make healthy sleep easier to come by with just a few simple tips, like shutting off screens an hour or two before bedtime, taking a warm shower, avoiding caffeine and alcohol too late at night, and keeping to a regular bedtime schedule.
#2 Eat a Healthy Diet
Would a knight ever go into battle without his sword? Of course not! Just the same, you need to give your body the nutrients it needs in order to fight off the foreign invaders trying to make you ill. A healthy diet consists of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein, and dairy. This doesn’t mean you can never have a cookie or a slice of birthday cake, but these highly-processed foods and sugars won’t give your body the support it needs to fight off viruses.
#3 Be Active
An active body is a healthy body! "Active" doesn’t have to mean playing a sport or lifting weights at the gym; it could also be going for a walk or spending 30 minutes each morning doing yoga. More is not necessarily better here, so be careful. Make sure that the exercise isn’t eating into your amount of sleep or causing mental burnout, both of which could cause problems with the immune system. This brings us to our next point...
#4 Manage Your Mental Health
The pandemic has made many of us stressed out, worried, depressed, or anxious. When your mind is sick, your body will soon follow. Stress makes us less healthy and more prone to infection. Be sure to give yourself downtime for self-care. This could be a spa day, reading a book in the sunshine, or meeting your friends for lunch and catching up. If you have concerns about your moods or emotional health, we encourage you to speak to your doctor.
#5 Take precautions
All of the sleep in the world won’t keep you protected from germs if you don’t wash your hands and take other simple precautions. Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow. Stay away from sick people as much as you can. The flu shot is recommended yearly for all people six months of age or older, and will be particularly important this year. The combination of influenza and COVID-19 is a bit frightening!
PranaSleep Makes Getting Healthy Sleep Easy!
While scientists are just beginning to understand the interaction between the two, scientific research suggests that sleep deprivation may decrease our body’s ability to resist infection. Many people view sleep as a luxury and think that limiting the hours they spend asleep is a necessary evil to focus on other tasks. People often overlook the potential short-term and long-term health consequences of insufficient sleep. Don’t forget about the impact that health problems can ultimately have on your time and productivity. Coming down with the flu is a guaranteed way to miss work and be far behind on your to-do list! If you want to stay healthy this cold and flu season, you need a full night of sleep every single night. It’s as simple as that!
If you feel you’re not sleeping as well as you should be despite having a healthy bedtime routine, the true issue may be your mattress. A premium PranaSleep mattress was designed and handcrafted to give you your best night of sleep! When you’re sleeping on a PranaSleep mattress, your body will be both cradled and supported. You’ll fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Sleep deprivation, and the health problems that come along with it, will be a thing of the past!