What if we told you that to build immunity, the most important thing you have to do is rest and sleep? Sounds amazing right? Because it is! Sleeping IS the most important way to accelerate your immunity rejuvenation process. Ofcourse, it doesn’t mean you sleep the whole day ( sorry to disappoint you guys :P), but sleeping for fixed hours at a fixed time and waking up at a fixed time every day is clinically proven to improve your immunity levels faster.
Let’s take a look at why this happens .
Sleep and the circadian system wield a powerful regulatory influence on the immune system. Clinical research has shown that the immune system is hyperactive all through the day releasing enzymes, activating hormones to manage the daily wear and tear. At night, or whenever you call it a day and sleep for more than 6 hours, research has shown that this is the time when your body redistributes its energy resources. When you’re awake most of the energy is used to fuel the brain and the muscles. When you’re asleep a major portion of this energy is used to repair your immune system on a daily basis It creates new cells and discards the old cells that have exhausted their purpose.
When you’re asleep, immune cells stop circulating throughout your body and settle in your lymph nodes to prepare for the next workday. Toxic waste that causes inflammation in your body, from the day, is collected and destroyed, ready to be emitted out through urination and fecal matter the next time you’re awake. Cortisol and adrenaline levels drop, while melatonin rises. This tackles inflammation by reducing the damaging molecules called reactive oxygen species .
As mentioned earlier, sleep promotes harmonious interaction between your hormones and your immune system. During the waking hours, hormonal activity is rapid as it tackles excitement, stres, anxiety, and this interferes in their communication with the immune system. When you’re sleeping, hormones follow their natural, original path and their levels change to enable the body to keep aside extra energy from the muscles for maintaining the immune system.
Now, if you don’t have fixed sleeping hours or are not sleeping , or sleeping for a very less time, your hormones start getting haywire and that causes your body to react in various ways. You have major mood swings, disturbed digestion, foggy brain that mimics the way your brain would if it was highly intoxicated. You try to tackle this by drinking coffee or chai and that puts your cortisol levels out of whack and your blood sugar spikes in an unbalanced manner… It is a mess. Continuing this for a long time causes your immune system to be busy fighting off these problems and getting diminished. That’s why when a disease or a disorder strikes, your immune system is too weak to handle it.
Yes, it is a scary picture. But the human mind and body are miraculous self healers. All they need is a little discipline from your end. Remember #fitnessisalifestyle. You just need to make small changes to your lifestyle as a habit and have foods that will help you sleep better, and thus, help you build your immunity levels.
5 foods that will help you sleep better in no time.
Anti-stress, anti-oxidant, improves sleep quality and treats insomnia.
How to take it: 1tsp of ashwagandha in a cup of lukewarm milk before bed time.
It is full of fibre and good fats which helps to prevent chronic disease. It is a rich source of magnesium which promotes sleep by reducing cortisol levels in the body.
How to take it: 5 almonds with a cup of warm milk.
- Chamomile tea:
This non caffeinated drink is a sleep inducer, immunity booster and a digestive rolled in one! It has a calming effect on the body and relaxes the mind. It is full of antioxidants needed to fight off free radicals produced during the day, to boost the immune system. It also relieves the digestive tract and keeps gas and acidity at bay.
How to take it: Boil chamomile leaves in a cup of water. Strain water in a cup. Sip slowly and let the relaxing effect wash all over you before bed time.
- Pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are packed with tryptophan and zinc which are the main nutrients for producing serotonin and melatonin necessary for promoting a restful sleep.
How to have them : Include in your daily snack routine and after dinner munchies.
- Lemon Balm Tea: It belongs to the mint family and helps you sleep well.
How to have it: Before bedtime, have a cup and see how your quality of sleep improves with time.
Rituals for good sleep
- Lay off caffeine in every form at least 4 hours before bedtime.
- Switch off all screens at least one hour before bedtime. Just keep the phone and laptop as far away from you as possible. If it helps, switch off your phone for the night. Everything else can be tackled the next day. For the moment, your sleep is the most important thing.
- Try to practise mindfulness meditation for 10 minutes before you drift off to sleep.
- No caffeine before bed time
If you liked what you read and if our suggestions helped you understand the healing process better, and, if you think you’d like to subscribe to our Immunity Booster Nutrition Program, get your package here