Alas, the seasons of sniffles are upon us. And no one likes to be struck down by a cold or flu! If you are keen to keep the bugs at bay, Metropol has compiled some science-backed tips for keeping that immune system in fighting form.
Inadequate sleep stresses the body, making it more vulnerable to illnesses and less efficient at recovering. Without sleep, important hormones like cortisol spike and can cause an increased appetite, weight gain, fatigue and supress immune function. To prioritise your sleep, try expert-recommended tips such as going to bed an hour earlier, banning screens from your sleep space and setting aside time to relax and unwind before bed.
Anyone who has ever dealt with a prolonged period of stress could probably testify how the experience affected their physical health, and science agrees. Ongoing stress can lead to mental health issues, heart disease, high blood pressure and even stroke. On a day-to-day level, mindfulness and meditation techniques can reduce stress and improve sleep, brain function and mood. Try apps such as Headspace and Insight Timer or visit mentalhealth.org.nz for more resources.
Protecting your physical health should be top of your to-do list when it comes to keeping winter’s woes away. There may be fewer sunshine hours, but keeping up your vitamin D helps immunity, and supplements of the vitamin have been linked to reducing risk of respiratory infections. Magnesium not only helps muscle recovery for those fitness bunnies out there, but it also helps calm the nervous system, lower blood pressure and is a recommended natural sleep aid. We’re huge fans of the liquid vitamin C sachets, which deliver a high-powered, immune-boosting dose in one gooey mouthful. Feed the good bugs with probiotics and eat wholefoods which supply your body with an A to Z of vitamins and minerals for fighting-fit body function.
As the temperatures drop and the shorter days kick in, it may be tempting to snuggle up on the couch, skip that workout and settle in for nights of your favourite series and comforting snacks. Regular exercise and time outside not only boost your mental health, but is also a functional way to help you sleep at night. Exercise increases long-term health and reduces the risk of illnesses like heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes – and can even make you smarter!