Here we are on the brink of another flu season. Having our world shut down by a global pandemic can make the flu seem small in comparison. But with the risk of healthcare facilities becoming stretched too thin, it’s more important than ever to protect ourselves from getting sick. The most effective way to help your immune system fight off a virus is by preventing exposure in the first place. Make sure you’re practicing the recommended prevention measures, like washing your hand frequently, social distancing, and wearing a mask,
Nevertheless, you’ve likely been thinking about boosting your immune system for months. There was no off-season this year. Now is a great time to double down on your efforts and give yourself a little immunity refresher. We shared some simple immune-boosting tips earlier this year that may be helpful to review. In this post, we’ll focus on one strategy you absolutely can’t skip—a healthy dose of revitalizing sleep.
While we sleep, our bodies both produce and release a type of protein called a “cytokine,” which contributes to our immune response. According to The Sleep Foundation, diminished sleep can impair this important healing function.¹ Additionally, when we skip out on sleep, our bodies respond by releasing stress hormones. These hormones are known to have an immune-suppressing effect that can make us more susceptible to colds and other infections. If you’re planning on getting a flu shot this year, there’s even some evidence that lack of sleep can reduce the efficacy of the vaccine.²
Unfortunately, the pandemic hasn’t exactly created the conditions for healthy sleep. Many of us are getting less natural sunlight, but more blue light from our screens. We have less access to the hobbies that help us relieve stress and the communities that provide emotional support. When our routines are disrupted in these ways, the quality of our sleep often suffers. The irony is, of course, that we need restful sleep right now more than ever.
Even without studies, we’ve all experienced the healing power of sleep. When we feel the symptoms of a cold or flu coming on, our first instinct is to send ourselves straight to bed. Sleep is not a cure for being sick, but it can help our bodies conserve energy and stay strong enough to fight off infection. So if you’re someone who has a hard time slowing down, let this be the season of sleep! For your own health and the health of those around you, it’s time to allow yourself to get some rest.
Getting a solid night of sleep might be easier said than done, especially right now. We created our Sleep Well collection to help you quiet your worries and unwind tension from the day for a more peaceful experience at bedtime.