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SLEEP AND IMMUNITY

Recent talk has been a lot about immunity – and we mean it! Do you get enough vitamin D? Are you too stressed? What about getting out and exercising? Is it important? How can we attain herd immunity? The BSC has the answer. If you work remotely, you will likely already be in your pajamas and ready for the best way to increase your immunity. Let me give you a hint. It’s called sleep.

A Firm Foundation

Sleep is more than a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also the foundation. Sleep is the place where we start building an immune system (let’s just call it preventative medicine). A better night’s sleep can improve immunity and lead to a lower likelihood of developing chronic diseases. It is the best prescription for good health.

It is good for your body. And Antibodies.

Your immune system produces proteins known as cytokines during sleep. They not only promote sleep but also control the activity and growth of your immune system’s cells.

When you have inflammation or infection, certain cytokines will increase. Cytokines play a crucial role in regulating the immune system’s response to infections and communication between immune cells. These protective cytokines may be reduced by sleep deprivation. Also, the production of infection-fighting antibodies is reduced in periods where you don’t get enough rest.

Ellen Wermter is a board-certified nurse practitioner. She said that when you have a virus or an infection, your immune system goes into high gear. Your immune system will quickly recognize a virus if you have been exposed to it before and can often fight it off before it becomes severe. COVID-19 is an example of a novel coronavirus. Our immune system is therefore starting from scratch. We need to ensure that it is as healthy as possible in order to give it the best possible response.

When Counting Sheep isn’t cutting it

Working from home, being your child’s teacher, and cooking three meals per day are all ways we’re feeling more stressed during the pandemic. We all need to sleep more now than ever.

Wermter suggests that you “Try to manage emotions throughout the day and take care of your mental and physical health.” It’s normal to feel sleep deprivation at this time. This is our survival instinct, trying to find a solution to the problem. Don’t let temporary poor sleep become an additional source of anxiety. Do your best to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night to boost your immunity and reduce stress.

Get the sleep you need

Are you looking for more ways to improve your sleep quality? These are some tips to help you get better sleep.

  • Make your room comfortable: Make your room dark, quiet, cool, and inviting for sleep. Comfortable sleeping requires a temperature between 65-and 67 degrees. Use room-darkening blinds to prepare your bedroom for sleep.
  • Create a consistent nighttime routine Develop a routine that you can follow every night before going to bed. This will help you relax. You might consider turning on gentle music, reading a book, and fluffing your pillows. Even on weekends, you might consider going to bed and getting up simultaneously. This should help you fall asleep and encourage regular sleep.
  • Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake Don’t consume caffeine late at night or in the afternoon. Alcohol near bedtime can cause sleep disruptions and prolong the effects of caffeine.
  • Hydrate and eat right. In addition to getting an immune boost from sleep, staying hydrated throughout your day and eating healthy food will also help your immune system. For optimal digestion, eat dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.
  • Avoid blue light exposure: Try to avoid using LEDs or any other form of blue light for at least one hour before going to bed. Before you go to sleep, switch off all electronics and put them into “night mode”.
  • Enjoy natural light throughout the day: While a dark bedroom can be conducive to sleeping, exposure to natural light while awake improves your mood, and alertness, and regulates your circadian rhythm.
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