6 things this immunologist does every night to sleep better and boost her immune system: ‘Exercise isn’t enough’

More than two years after the outbreak of a pandemic, we are still grappling with Covid-19 outbreaks – and that means building and maintaining a strong immune system should be a top priority.

As an immunologist and functional medicine physician, 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.

Without enough sleep, your stress hormones may experience disruptionthat affect your weight, gut health, and immune defense

Sleep: Shut Down Your Body, Boost Your Immune System

Exercising is not enough to get a good night’s sleep. I see patients who go to the gym every day and have made sacrifices such as eliminating alcohol or sugar, but still can’t sleep well.

In fact no less than 50 million Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder, and one in three adults in the US getting less than the minimum recommended seven hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, this affects our health in so many ways. Sleep deprivation not only makes us feel tired the next day, it also creates inflammation and increases our risk of disease. It has been linked to increased rates of hypertension, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and cancer.

How to sleep better?

The good news is that once you prioritize sleep, you immune system can recover quickly

Here are six things I do every night to ensure a good night’s sleep:

1. Reduce Digital Devices

You might be shocked at how much time you spend surfing the web, watching TV and mindlessly scrolling on your phone. Once you’ve become honest about what you’re doing with your time, think about how you can cut down on those non-essential activities and allocate time for sleep instead.

I also suggest putting your phone and computer in a drawer at the same time every night. Experts in human behavior have found it that being successful at making healthy lifestyle choices has less to do with innate willpower and more to do with creating a lifestyle that makes these decisions easier.

2. Create an optimal sleeping environment

Your bedroom should be your sleeping haven. You don’t need expensive bedding, a weighted blanket or a cooling pad. A comfortable mattress, a 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 street lighting in front of 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 going to sleep

Insomnia is often caused by worrying about things that haven’t happened — or may never happen.

One way to calm your mind and body is to keep a journal before going to sleep. Work through your worries by writing them down is found to help clear the mind of stressful thoughts so they don’t keep you up at night.

Breathing exercises can also help. When I’m in an anxious or worried state, or just a little excited, I use the 4-5-7 breathing technique:

  1. Sit quietly, place the tip of your tongue on your roof of the mouth, near the back of your upper front teeth, and exhale with a “whoosh” sound.
  2. Inhale through your nose to a silent count of four seconds, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale through your nose for a count of eight.
  3. Repeat this cycle three more times, for a total of four rounds.

4. Experiment with magnesium

Magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral” thanks to its demonstrated ability fight 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

5. Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light interferes 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 (ie from smartphones, tablets, computers), blue light-blocking glasses are essential to me. Wearing these glasses has been shown to significantly improve sleep quality and reduce 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 also several good manufacturers and prescription options.

6. Do Some Easy Stretches

Performing stretching or restorative yoga before bedtime can help with pain, increased blood pressure, restless leg syndrome and anxiety. Only a few poses can activate your parasympathetic nervous system and help you sleep better.

I love doing legs-on-the-wall poses. And the best part is that you really only need about five minutes to make a big difference.

dr. Heather Moday is a board-certified allergist, immunologist, and physician of functional medicine. She is also the author of “The Immunotype Breakthrough: Your Personalized Plan to Balance Your Immune System, Optimize Health, and Build Lifelong Resilience.” Follow her on Instagram @theimmunityMD and facebook

Do not miss:

#immunologist #night #sleep #boost #immune #system #Exercise #isnt

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *