How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you find yourself waking up feeling tired/fatigued or are you rested? If you’re feeling the former, then you might be under-sleeping and that can actually have a huge impact on not only on your health and fitness goals, but it can significantly influence your ability to fight sicknesses.
The changing of the seasons/weather can result increased risk of getting sick. It’s important for you to keep your immune system in peak condition especially with the ever growing presence of the coronavirus. Getting sick is the last thing we all need as we have the responsibility to take care of our family, relationships, and our jobs. This week we’re talking all about boosting immunity to minimize the risk of getting sick. Yesterday we talked about how prevention (hand washing, etc.) is the most powerful tactic to fight off sickness. Today, we’re discussing sleep and it’s effect on boosting your immune system.
Science shows that sleeping has a large impact on immune system function. Not only does it reduce cortisol levels which helps you fight off infections, but you are also actively fighting off sicknesses in your sleep! (Cool right?). If you’re frequently fighting a cold or concerned with getting ill during these times, a free way to boost your immunity is by getting not just more sleep, but better quality rest at night. Not sure how to make things better? Follow the action steps below to ensure you’re getting sufficient rest:
Remove screens (TV, cell phones, etc.) from your line of sight at least 30 minutes before bed. But if you can’t help it, getting blue light blocking glasses can help. (I currently have a pair from Felix Gray).
Limit alcohol intake. Contrary to popular belief, drinking booze can actually mess with your circadian rhythm (aka your natural sleep/wake cycle), preventing you from getting restful sleep. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to have a glass of soda water or plain water at a work event.
Understand your operational capacity. Just like exercising for goals, more work does not equate to better work. If you’re working late at night, ask yourself if that work is quality work, or would it make better sense for you to continue the next day. You’ll waste less time and get more things done.
Understand your natural sleep cycle. In Daniel Pinks book “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” he says that there are two types of people: Larks or early risers, and night owl’s or people who stay up late. There’s nothing wrong with either of them, and once you can figure out if you are early or late riser, you’ll understand the best sleeping time/style for you. No need to fight how your body operates.
There are a number of foods that help promote quality of sleep. This list isn’t exhaustive, but if you would like to improve your zzzz’s then migrate towards foods like: almonds, turkey, chamomile tea, rice (I sleep like a baby after eating this), and more. Pretty much stay away from caffeinated drinks past 2pm (the half life of caffeine is approximately 5-6 hours).
There are many actions that you can take to lower the risk of getting sick. Sleeping is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to boost your immunity. If you want to ensure that you feel your best and look your best, then make sure that you are able to get some good quality shut eye. Follow the action steps above, plus washing your hands will put you in a good spot for feeling awesome.
Have a great day,
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