Exercise and Sleep for the Immune System

There are a lot of research studies that prove there is a link between exercise and sleep and a healthy immune system. These studies reveal that exercising on a daily basis can boost your immune system over the course of your life.

One of the other advantages of daily exercising is that it reduces the effects of aging as well. When you get into the habit of exercising regularly, you will be setting yourself up for a healthy immune system as you get older. Older people tend to have weaker immune systems, but if you have always exercised regularly then this should not be a problem for you.

Start Simple with Exercise

We wrote this guide during the coronavirus pandemic and depending on where you live, there may be some restrictions on you going outside. You need to respect this because flattening the coronavirus curve is essential. If you cannot go outside then you can exercise in your home or out in your yard.

One of the best forms of exercise is walking. Going on a 20 or 30-minute walk each day can do wonders for your immune system. It can be a bit of a challenge doing this at home but you could walk around your yard for a few minutes a day for example.

Another thing that you can certainly do at home is either Pilates or yoga. There are plenty of videos on YouTube, for example, that will show you the basic moves and this is a good place to start with. You can move up to a more advanced exercise once you have mastered the basics.

Yoga in particular will help you to bolster your immune system. Not only that but it is a great form of exercise as it gets you to really move your body. You can encourage the growth of your T cells by adopting the Cobras pose for a duration of 3 deep breaths.

Once you become more experienced with yoga, you can be more adventurous and try the “legs up the wall” pose. This is good because it encourages lymph drainage and increases blood circulation which will help you to relax and reset your nervous system.

Perform Stretches Each Day

Your immune system will always perform better when you are in a relaxed state so you can put yourself into this state by performing simple stretching exercises every day. We recommend that you perform a series of stretches for around 10 minutes as soon as you get out of bed every morning.

Exercise and Sleep for the Immune System

One stretch that we highly recommend is called the “forward fold”. This can really boost your immune system because it forces blood flow into your sinuses which in turn releases any congestion.

There are many different stretches that you can perform that are very easy to do. Look online for ideas to start you off. You certainly do not need to perform stretching for very long to provide the benefit to your immune system. Do two sets of stretches a day in the morning and evening.

Sleep to Boost your Immune System

There are not many things better than getting enough sleep to help your immune system fight off any antigens. It is critical that you get the right amount of sleep as you need to produce the correct levels of cytokines which you can only do while sleeping. This protein helps to reduce infections and inflammation too.

When you get a good sleep every night, you will keep your immune system in the best shape to protect you from viruses and bacteria. As an adult, you will need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night so that your body is able to regenerate properly.

We know that sometimes it is not always possible for you to get this amount of sleep each night. If you don’t get the sleep that you need then try taking a couple of 30-minute naps during the day to make up for this.

If you have difficulty sleeping then we have some good advice for you to follow. You need to follow this advice because if your body is deprived of sleep then your immune system will not be able to function as it should.

#1 Establish a Routine

It is certainly possible to fool your body into going to sleep at a certain time every day. Do you find that you feel tired at a similar time each day? What you need to do if this is the case is to go to bed just before this time.

You need to set up a routine so that you can do all of the things that you need to do before your designated time to go to bed. If you need to, you can set an alarm to remind you that it is time for you to get ready for bed.

It is not difficult to establish a sleeping time ritual in your life. When you do this, you will know that at a specific time each day you can disconnect from all of the day-to-day stresses and slowly encourage your body that you need to shut down and get some restful sleep.

#2 Preparing for Sleep

You need to create the right atmosphere for sleeping. Take a look at your bedroom and see if it is comfortable enough for you. If your bed is not that comfortable, then consider getting a new one that is. Good pillows are essential as well. Falling asleep or staying asleep can be difficult when you are uncomfortable.

Exercise and Sleep for the Immune System

What kind of noise levels exist in your bedroom? What temperature is the room? Some people find it helpful to have a constant noise in their bedroom to help them sleep such as a white noise machine or even a simple fan.

Using essential oils on your pillows can also help your brain to relax. We recommend that you switch off any electronics such as a TV in your bedroom, or move it to another room altogether. Having the TV on will not encourage you to sleep as it will stimulate you instead.

Don’t drink coffee or anything that contains caffeine at least 3 hours prior to your sleeping time. We recommend that you avoid eating large meals 3 hours before going to bed as well. These things work so be patient and persistent with them. In a short time, you will find that you are sleeping well each night.

Images courtesy of:
Daniela Dimitrova, Free-Photos, Sam Williams, Pixabay

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Exercise and Sleep for the Immune System

Part 7 of Boost Your Immune System Series
Pam Byc
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