Are you stocking up on hand sanitizers and vitamin-C in an effort to avoid a cold or the flu this season? Perhaps you’re better off getting high-quality sleep as new research confirms that eight hours of high-quality sleep could be one of the best ways to give your immune system a boost.
Achieving high-quality sleep on a consistent basis during cold and flu season gives you a fighting chance to stave off illness. Studies suggest that lack of sleep makes us up to THREE TIMES more susceptible to cold and flu viruses. Additionally, a recent study conducted at the University of Chicago shows sleep impairment affects the efficacy of flu shots. If you’re deprived of sleep when you receive a flu shot, the efficacy of the shot is cut in half …and it may take up to three to four weeks for the vaccine to get to the point where it can protect you, versus just a few days for a well-rested person.
It’s a simple decision, really … either you get enough high-quality sleep now to help prevent getting sick – OR – spend more time in bed trying to get better.
What can you and your loved ones do to get the high-quality sleep you all need?
Make sleep a priority – Put sleep at the top of your to-do list
Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it – even on the weekends
Avoid anti-sleep activities – Don’t eat, exercise or consume caffeine late in the day
Pay attention to your environment – Get in a dim, quiet room the hour before bed and turn off all screens
Check your bed – Take advantage of innovations in bedding that allow you to customize your comfort, like the Sleep Number bed and accessories
Keep in mind you don’t need to “boil the ocean” – don’t make drastic sleep changes all at once. Try going to bed earlier in 15-minute increments, and then adopt the other good sleep habits in order to prepare your family for the flu and cold season. Sleep well!
Read more about the Carnegie Mellon University sleep study findings.