Article by Dr. Nicole Craven
It is known that lack of sleep can be bad for mood. But did you know that it also compromises immunity? At night, the immune system is strongest and the body needs a good night’s rest to repair cells. A relaxing bedtime ritual that includes immune-boosting treatments can help promote health.
How the immune system recovers during sleep
When we sleep, the body undergoes cellular repair processes. Cellular debris accumulated during a busy day is removed, and more unnecessary oxidized molecules are removed. In addition, certain types of cytokines are produced – they are part of the immune system and protect the body. Poor sleep produces fewer cytokines and antibodies that suppress infections and viruses that the body has encountered during the day.
During sleep, the immune system and tissues are restored, the brain and muscles are cleansed. The degree of this recovery is directly related to the quality and duration of sleep.
Scientific evidence supports daytime rituals to promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being. A daily step-by-step ritual to relax and prepare for a good sleep will help strengthen your immune system to better fight infections.
A new epidemic of sleep disorders
The body has a natural circadian rhythm – a system that signals the onset of day and night. Its work is influenced by the mental and physical condition of the body. On a psychological level, if you follow modern trends and strive to always be “in touch”, it will be difficult for the brain to calm down and get rid of many thoughts. As a result, the circadian rhythm is disrupted.
In simple words, we think a lot all the time. Someone thinks that in a few minutes before bedtime, you can instantly stop a constant powerful flow of information. Fortunately, the body cannot be turned off like a computer. And this means that every evening you need to carefully, slowly and methodically prepare your mind and body to exit the regime of intense meditation.
The overuse of technology today has sparked an epidemic of sleep disorders. Not only do we load the brain with huge amounts of information, but we also expose ourselves to stimulating blue light from many screens (computers, phones, tablets, TVs, charging stations and many other devices). This blue light suppresses production melatonin – a hormone that controls the circadian rhythm and the body’s ability to synchronize with the time of day. Insomnia can be avoided by preparing for bed in advance. The methods used in this case will be useful for immunity.
Five Steps to Perfect Sleep Preparation
1. Immerse yourself in natural silence and darkness
For starters, limit any artificial interference with sleep as much as possible. Turn off the lights, put your phone down, turn off noise sources. The natural environment around us is very powerful. Conscious acceptance of it can quickly put the nervous system into a calmer mode.
Try to notice nature around you – like fire candles or wood bed. Look out the window and focus on the natural beauty that clean air brings us.
2. Relax your mind and body
Fortunately, we have the ability to limit the chaos and impetuosity of life if we consciously pay attention to it. You need to physically slow down your movements and focus exclusively on the present moment. Of course, this can be considered a meditation, but the name is not so important. You can concentrate on anything: sit quietly, pet the dog, brush your teeth, take a shower.
Just listen to yourself and calmly accept any thoughts that come to mind, but do not develop them, but think exclusively about what is happening here and now. It sounds simple, but in fact it is a very powerful ability of the body. So as the second step in your bedtime routine, set aside five minutes to slow your body and mind.
3. Tea and relaxation
Reading a book with a cup of tea in hand is a great way to calm your nervous system. Studies have shown that warm fluid increases blood flow and thus increases the flow of oxygen to cells before bed. Reading engages the creative brain and stimulates the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces substances that promote relaxation.
Some herbal teas calm the nervous system. Among them chamomile, valerian root and gotu kola (asiatic centella)… Besides their calming effect, these plants have a pleasant aroma and taste. And if you add a little organic immunity-strengthening honeythen the tea will become a very effective immunostimulant at night.
A comprehensive study was released in September 2020 gotu kola – the plant has shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Accordingly, now we can say with greater confidence that it strengthens the immune system. In addition, gotu kola has been used for centuries as an antioxidant, and is even considered a potential “universal medicinal plant” in the pharmacological review (with the need for further research noted).
If at heart you are a real scientist and are always looking for evidence, large-scale research invariably confirms the benefits chamomile as a safe and effective remedy for sleep disorders. Many soothing teas contain chamomile and valerian root – the action of these plants complements each other and promotes relaxation before bed.
4. Natural scents to improve sleep
Have you ever visited a friend’s house or a spa and smelled amazing scent? This is precisely the benefit of aromatherapy when using a diffuser.
Aromatherapy involves the use of herbal essential oils for therapeutic purposes. Scientific research confirms its benefits for physical, mental and mental health. Encephalograms show that the smell of these oils stimulates the limbic system and its emotional responses, thereby improving overall well-being.
As for immunity, essential oils eucalyptus and ginger may have direct immunostimulating properties. Lavender essential oil can promote relaxation and sleep in most people. In addition, more than 80% of children like its scent.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid – a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce the activity of neurons and thereby promote relaxation and readiness for sleep. People with mood disorders and addictions often have low GABA levels. Its production can be increased with the help of certain natural products, certain actions and compounds.
GABA is found in green and black tea and oolong teaas well as fermented foods like tempeh and kefir. GABA production is enhanced by valerian, hop, magnesium, L-theanine, L-arginine, kava, passionflower and American ginseng… If supplements that improve GABA synthesis are taken with L-glutamine, you can increase muscle tone and maintain peristalsis …