Immune Weakness: Here Are 4 Signs That You Have , --See What To Do About It
April 2, 2022
May 21, 2022
More than two years after the emergence of a pandemic, we’re still struggling with outbreaks of Covid-19 — and that means building and maintaining a strong immune system should be a top priority.
As an immunologist and functional medicine doctor, I always remind my patients that while genetics, diet and exercise all play a role in our immune response, sleep is one of the most effective ways to prepare your body to fight infection.
This, sadly, is affecting our health in so many ways. Sleep deprivation doesn’t just make us feel tired the next day, it also creates inflammation and increases our risk for disease. It has been linked to increased rates of hypertension, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and cancer.
How to get better sleep
The good news is that as soon as you start prioritizing sleep, your immune system can rebound quickly.
I also suggest putting your phone and computer in a drawer at the same time every evening. Experts in human behavior have found that being successful at making healthy lifestyle choices is less about innate willpower and more about creating a lifestyle that makes these decisions easier.
2. Create an optimal sleep environment
Your bedroom should be your sleep sanctuary. You don’t need expensive linens, a weighted blanket or a cooling pad. A comfortable mattress, high-quality pillow and soft bedding will do just fine.
If you have indicator lights on electronics in your bedroom, cover them with black electrical tape. If you have bright streetlights outside your window, use blackout curtains. If you can hear traffic noise, use a white noise machine to drown it out.
Finally, make sure your bedroom is nice and cool (the optimal temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18.3 degrees Celsius).
3. Calm the mind before bedtime
Insomnia is often caused by ruminating about things that haven’t happened — or may never happen.
One way to calm your mind and body is to journal before bedtime. Processing your worries by writing them down has been found to help clear the mind of stressful thoughts so they won’t keep you up at night.
Breathing exercises can help, too. If I’m in an anxious or worried state, or just a little amped up, I use the 4-5-7 breath technique:
Magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation” mineral, thanks to its demonstrated ability to combat insomnia.
You can always take a magnesium supplement, but one of my favorite ways to use it for sleep is by taking a warm Epsom salt bath. Magnesium sulfate is the main component of Epsom salt, and by penetrating your skin and muscles, it can have a relaxing effect.
Even just soaking in a warm bath helps you fall asleep faster.
Blue light messes with your body’s ability to prepare for sleep because it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy.
And given the excessive amounts of blue light in our homes (i.e., from smartphones, tablets, computers), blue light-blocking glasses are an essential for me. Wearing these glasses has been shown to significantly improve sleep quality and decrease insomnia.
The best glasses usually have yellow or orange lenses and block higher percentages, some up to 90%, of blue-spectrum light. My favorites are Swanswick glasses, but there are several good manufacturers and prescription options as well.
Implementing stretching or restorative yoga before bedtime can help with pain, elevated blood pressure, restless leg syndrome and anxiety. Just a few poses can engage your parasympathetic nervous system and help you sleep better.
I love doing legs-up-the-wall poses. And the best part is that you really only need five or so minutes to make a big difference.
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