Are you getting a restful night’s sleep? Is stress overwhelming you?
These are two important questions to ask yourself when evaluating the strength of your immune system. Increased amounts of stress and sleep deprivation are linked to weakened immune systems.
A weakened immune system is something you want to avoid at all cost, especially as we enter cold and flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep yourself healthy, it’s important to know the impact stress and sleep challenges have on your body and overall health.
Stress presents itself physically in a multitude of ways. It can cause head and neck aches, show on your skin and increase your blood pressure. It can also be one of the primary reasons you get sick.
Stress can make you more susceptible to illnesses and make you fall ill more frequently. If your stress has already made you sick this year or you’re managing greater stress than normal, now is the time to slow down and use some stress-management techniques to help your body relax and remain healthy.
Some of these techniques include:
- Prioritizing self-reflection.
- Eating right.
- Exercising more.
Self-care is essential to this process. Putting yourself first may not be easy. However, doing so could make all the difference in reducing your stress and improving your health.
When it comes to improving your sleep habits, it’s not about how much sleep you get, but rather the quality of your sleep. Contrary to popular belief, a person can still suffer from sleep deprivation even after sleeping for nine hours.
Getting enough quality sleep is vital to your health. It jumpstarts your brain, allows your body to rest and gives you more energy. Without it, our bodies have a harder time fighting off germs and staying alert. Sleep deprivation also puts people at risk for developing chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
There are some simple steps you can fold into in your daily routine to improve your sleep. Some of these tips include:
- Don’t drink caffeine after 3 p.m.
- Create a quiet, cool and dark environment for sleep.
- Exercise and be mindful of when you’re completing your activity. It can stimulate brain activity and keep you awake.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, which may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or body aches, you should call your primary care provider’s office. You may be encouraged to complete a virtual visit.