This time of year it's pretty much unavoidable. You're going to catch some sort of cold or flu bug. You wash your hands, take your vitamins, wipe down everything before you touch it...but the germs still find you.
We have something super simple that you can do tonight to boost your immune system: get a good night's sleep. It's time to put down the phone, stop binge-watching that TV show and get some shut-eye. New research is showing us exactly why our bodies need a minimum of seven hours of sleep for optimal health.
In a "real world" study (no sleep labs here) using 11 pairs of identical twins with different sleep habits, the University of Washington took blood samples and determined that the twin who slept the least had a more depressed immune system. This study shows for the first time that chronically skimping on sleep can shut down key functions having to do with immune response.
The same researchers reported that over the past century, Americans are sleeping about one-and-a-half to two hours less than they used to. Approximately one-third of working adults are sleeping less than six hours per night.
No one wants to be side-lined with a nasty cold, so it's time we prioritize sleep. Set a bed-time alarm to alert you to turn off the electronics, crawl into bed with a good book and some sleepy tea, then catch some zzz's.