Not getting enough shut-eye? Get some inspiration on how to sleep better and become healthier!
Not getting enough quality sleep can have a serious impact on one’s health, be it physical or mental. As a matter of fact, according to studies, poor quality sleep or too few sleeping hours can cause immunity problems, increasing the risk of catching all sorts of unwanted illnesses.
That’s because “during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines.”
Those who sleep less than seven to nine hours every night are more exposed to infections as their number of infection-fighting antibodies and cells is lower than in those who get more than 7-9 hours per night.
If you constantly have health issues and think sleep, or lack thereof, might be the cause for your weak immunity, maybe you should learn a thing or two from people who never get sick. How do they manage to stay healthy? Due to their strong bedtime routine. Read on to find out more.
They create a calming environment
If you take a closer look inside the bedroom of someone who never gets sick, or at least not as often as you do, you’ll notice some important details. According to experts, people with strong immune systems usually create restful environments that promote quality sleep and rest.
In other words, a room with an ideal environment for sleep should be dark, quiet and cool, says Ryan Sultan, MD, a board-certified adult psychiatrist, therapist, and professor at Columbia University. That’s because light can increase the levels of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep. A quiet room promotes sleep and consequently, allows the body to repair itself, so as to make you strong and able to fight off whatever viruses or bacteria come your way.
According to Richard Prasad, a sleep expert and the founder and CEO of Sleep 365, your bedroom should be considered a command center for your well-being. So, turn off the lights, lower the temperature and eliminate noise to promote quality sleep.
They set up limits for screen time
People with strong immunity also have a strong rule when it comes to screen time before bed. Surely, you’ve heard before that the blue light coming from phones, computers, tablets, can affect your body’s production of melatonin. Yes, melatonin again, as it is the number one component of a good night’s rest.
The better the sleep, the stronger your protection against pathogens, says Sultan. Therefore, he recommends limiting screen time before going to bed as much as possible, to 2 hours, or at least 1 hour, before bedtime; this will give your body time to enter sleep mode. Hafiz Shariff, a sleep expert and the founder of bedding brand Owl + Lark suggests listening to music or a podcast in the evening.
See also: 10 Body Parts You’re Washing Too Often
They don’t eat unhealthily or too much
What you eat before going to bed can also affect your sleep. According to experts, people with strong immunity usually adopt a healthy diet and don’t have large, heavy meals before bedtime. A balanced diet can make or break one’s health, as surprising as that may sound for some. If you have large, heavy meals even hours before bedtime, you don’t allow your stomach to properly digest the food; thus it keeps “working” throughout the night, making you feel uncomfortable.
They limit their caffeine and alcohol consumption
People who don’t get sick very often have another thing in common: they do not overreact with the alcohol consumption. Also, they limit caffeine intake throughout the day and give it up completely hours before going to bed.
The explanation is that alcohol can disrupt sleep, therefore less alcohol prevents such disruptions. Secondly, limiting the alcohol consumption allows the immune system to work properly and maintain a strong body.
In terms of coffee, Shariff suggests “curbing your caffeine intake in the afternoon and the evening, and avoid alcohol before bed”.
It might also be useful to keep an eye on these 12 Signs You’re Way Too Dehydrated!
They use relaxation exercises
According to Sultan, relation techniques like meditation, deep breathing or muscle relaxation can facilitate sleep. Such exercises before bedtime reduce stress hormones and promote a calmer, relaxed state, just right for the body and brain to enter sleep mode.
It’s important to try and reduce stress as much as possible as chronic stress can take a heavy toll on one’s health, from immunity problems to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Yes, everything is related so the lower the stress levels, the stronger your body’s defense mechanisms.
Mindfulness is the most efficient way to reduce stress and help your mind and body take a much-needed rest during the night.
They have a proper sleep schedule
You might think all people have a sleep schedule, more or less, waking up and going to bed around the same hours. But with the hectic world that we live in, most people have hectic schedules, postponing sleep as long as possible to try and finish all their daily tasks. Needless to say, lack of a consistent bedtime routine and, consequently, schedule, will have all sorts of negative effects on your daily activities.
That’s because waking up and going to bed at completely different hours every day disrupts your body clock; it will become harder and harder to fall asleep and wake up in the morning, you will feel tired all the time, hence prone to getting sick.
“Try getting into bed and then waking up at roughly the same time each day, even when it’s a weekend,” advises Shariff. You will not only get more rest and feel more energized but you will also bolster your immune system, helping you never get sick anymore.
They get zinc
Zinc is a very important mineral which boosts your immune system, helping it function at its best and do all the healing that your body needs, as explained by Mayo Clinic. How can you get your optimum intake of zinc? First of all, through a balanced diet, as most people who never get sick adopt, as well as zinc supplements. These can help you reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, making sure you don’t count sheep all night long.
You might also like to find out more about these 10 Things Sugar Does to Your Body!
They do yoga
According to various specialized studies, yoga can have lots of benefits for one’s body; when it comes to sleep, yoga can help regulate the molecules in the body, creating a state of mindfulness and relaxation, leading to a high0quality sleep. This, in turn, helps boost the immune system, making you stronger and full of vitality.
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