Without the correct amount of sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines which is a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body's ability to respond.
Stock Up on Naps
To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This will help keep your immune system in ship-shape and also protects you from other health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. If your sleep schedule is interrupted by a busy working week or other factors, try to make up the lost rest with naps. Taking two naps that are no longer than 30 minutes each ideally one in the morning and one in the afternoon has been shown to help decrease stress and offset the negative effects that sleep deprivation has on the immune system. If you can't grab a half-hour nap during the workday, try grabbing a 20-minute siesta on your lunch hour, and another right before dinner.
Other Healthy Tactics
Of course, there's more to boosting your immunity and guarding against illness than getting ample sleep. It's also important to practice smart stay-healthy strategies such as washing your hands with soap regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are obviously under the weather and talking with your doctor about getting an annual flu shot. And remember: Even if you do come down with a case of seasonal sniffles, you'll be able to bounce back faster if your body is well-rested.
How Essential Oils may help
Essential oils have so many benefits and promoting sleep is certainly one of them. Essential oils from certain plants are known for their soothing effects, using them at bedtime may help in tackling insomnia and promoting better sleep. Other essential oils promote sleep by clearing your airways and preventing sleep disruptions due to snoring or sleep apnea.
Lavender is known for its relaxing effects. Researchers have found that lavender increases slow-wave sleep, instrumental for slowing heart rate and muscle relaxation—thus promoting restful sleep.
Chamomile alleviates insomnia by reducing anxiety and tackling depression. It's been used in ancient herbal medicines to reduce levels of stress and anxiety, which often lead to depression.
Sweet Marjoram Oil
The fragrance of sweet marjoram is known for its calming qualities and is recommended for insomnia. If your brain is relaxed and calm, it's better able to prepare your body for a good night's sleep.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit, but unlike other citrus oils that are known to be stimulating, bergamot has a calming effect. Studies have found that bergamot essential oil induces physiological changes, such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure that precede sleep. But bergamot oil is known to be photosensitive—avoid topically applying it before going outside.
Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage is known for its antidepressant effects. This essential oil is a natural sedative as it has been shown to reduce levels of the hormone cortisol, often associated with stress.
Valerenic acid in valerian oil is known to inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter GABA, which induces sleep. It works on the principles of anti-anxiety medicines and promotes deep sleep.
The woody and earthy scent of sandalwood are effective in relieving stress and anxiety. Research has shown that sandalwood may have a sedative effect by reducing wakefulness.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang Ylang oil is produced from the ylang-ylang fruit of Canaga trees, native to Indonesia. This oil is known to have a soothing effect, which alleviates stress and promotes sleep.
The botanical constituents of jasmine have a molecular mechanism similar to certain medicines prescribed for sleep. Jasmine oil is known for helping in tackling insomnia.
The anti-inflammatory nature of peppermint oil helps in clearing the airways and reduces snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
Sometimes it takes trial and error to get the right mix after all everyone is different.
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