Wellness in Winter
Whilst winter brings long, cosy nights and extra time with loved ones, it also brings with it an increased risk of illness due to reduced UV light and being in close proximity to others with colds and other nasty bugs.
Naturally, these periods of illness can be a nightmare – but it is possible to avoid getting ill. TEMPUR® takes a look at how sleep can help to defeat, and even prevent, an unfortunate bout of sickness.
Colds on the rise
Each winter, instances of colds and flu skyrocket, causing thousands of people to take time off school and work due to coughs, sniffles, blocked noses and sore throats.
A decrease in sunlight and levels of ultraviolet radiation in winter means that our bodies don’t produce as much vitamin D. As vitamin D helps to fight viruses and infections, this could explain why we tend to get more colds during winter months.
Warm, crowded spaces such as buses, trains and offices then provide the perfect environment for cold and flu to spread quickly from person to person.
Dangers of winter flu
Colds are extremely common, but winter flu can be a much nastier illness, and even deadly. Signs that you may have more than just a cold include:
- Aches and pains
Some people are more at risk to the dangers of flu than others, such as babies or young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
How sleep can beat sickness
Luckily, there are ways to treat winter colds and flu – and one of the best ways to do this is sleep.
Sleep helps the body to fight infection and defend itself against disease by increasing cell production and boosting our immune system. Sleep also speeds up the body’s recovery process, explaining why insufficient snoozes mean it takes longer to shake off a cold.
So, if you want to get back to fighting fit more quickly, try increasing your shut-eye by an hour each night, as extra sleep maximises your chances of a speedy recovery. Sticking to a good sleep routine; for example, going to bed at the same time every night, should also help.
Forming and maintaining good sleep habits is key to preventing future bouts of sickness – just try not to spend all day lying in bed as this can have the opposite result!
How to prevent a cold
When suffering with a nasty cold, there’s not much you can do but wait it out. However, there are measures you can take to avoid catching one again.
Colds and flu are easily spread through contact with infected people, or contaminated surfaces. Therefore, wash and sanitise your hands regularly to prevent germs from spreading, especially every time you sneeze or cough.
The stronger and healthier you are, the more resilient you will be to illness. Make sure you are eating a vitamin-rich diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and try to do regular exercise, even throughout winter.
Another option is getting a flu jab – which many people opt for each winter to ward off sickness. You can usually get a flu jab at your GP or pharmacy.
If you are worried about your cold or flu symptoms, always seek medical advice.
Do you have any top tips for fighting off the flu? Do you find that sleep helps beat winter colds? Let us know in the comments below…