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Strengthen your immunity this Winter with good sleep habits

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 28 May 2024

Strengthen your immunity this Winter with good sleep habits


Did you know that sleep plays a large role in helping you fight off the common cold and other infections?

In addition to staying home to avoid spreading the infection and staying hydrated, let's explore the common link between sleep and immunity and learn how to get the rest you need during cold and flu season.

How is sleep linked to the immune system?

Your body's immune system helps protect you from getting sick and fights off infections.

It has two types of protection: one that fights off germs in general (innate immunity) and another that is specialised and works against specific germs (adaptive immunity) 1.

High quality sleep is important for your immune system to work properly and stay strong 2.

Studies have shown that when you're well-rested, your immune system has an inflammatory response that strengthens your adaptive immunity, which can help you fight off more infections in the future 3.

This is also why you might be more tired and have lower energy when you’re unwell, as your immune system is working hard to respond to the infection.

How can I get high quality sleep?

If you’re not getting the high-quality sleep you need to help support your immune system, you can try 4:

  • Getting out of bed if you’re not asleep within 20 to 30 minutes. Read a book rather than scrolling through your phone or watching TV.
  • Having a warm bath, as bathing one to two hours before bedtime in high temperature water (40 to 42 degrees) can significantly improve your sleep
  • Making sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing and at a comfortable temperature for rest (not too cold, not too warm)

What should I do if I'm sick with the flu?

If you get sick with a cold and flu this Winter, you should make sure you get sufficient sleep and lots of physical rest. Your body will thank you, and so will your immune system.

You can also 5:

  • Stay hydrated with water or warm lemon water with honey, as this can loosen the congestion in your sinuses and prevent dehydration.
  • Add moisture to the air through a humidifier, as dry nostrils are more prone to viruses, and dry air can worsen your sore throat.
  • To manage symptoms, use over-the-counter medications like decongestants, antihistamines, and pain relievers. Get the essentials you need at your local Blooms The Chemist in-store, order online for at-home delivery.

Your immune system is complex and needs rest to function correctly. If you're tired or run down from fighting the flu, try to get seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep a night.

Most people get better from the flu within seven to ten days (about one and a half weeks) without any treatment, but if you have any questions, visit your local Blooms The Chemist pharmacy and speak to our friendly team.

References

1Sleep Foundation, How Sleep Affects Immunity, accessed 6 May 2024

2Irwin M. R. (2019). Sleep and inflammation: partners in sickness and in health. Nature reviews. Immunology, 19(11), 702–715, accessed 6 May 2024

3Irwin, M. R., & Opp, M. R. (2017). Sleep Health: Reciprocal Regulation of Sleep and Innate Immunity. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(1), 129–155, accessed 6 May 2024

4Healthdirect, How to get better sleep, according to science, accessed 6 May, 2024

5John Hopkins Medicine, The Do’s and Don’ts of Easing Cold Symptoms, accessed 6 May 2024