A hacking cough, a throbbing head, a sore throat, and a nose so stuffed it feels as if you'll never breathe free and clear again. You've got a cold -- or maybe even the flu -- and all you want to do is crawl in bed and sleep.
Until you get there. That's when you realize your symptoms are turning any chance for a solid night's rest into the impossible dream.
"It's true that many cold and flu symptoms seem to get worse at night, and they can interfere with sleep just at the critical time when your...
For such a simple-sounding process, there's a lot of bad information out there. Here are some myths and facts about the immune system and how it works.
Eating fruits and veggies keeps your immune system strong.
Fact. Mom and dad were right when they told you to eat your fruits and vegetables. Studies show that people who eat a lot of them get sick less. The nutrients in them can help your immune system fight viruses and bacteria.
Not getting enough sleep has no effect on your immune system.
Myth. There's a strong link between sleep and a healthy immune system. But not just any sleep will do. Restorative sleep, which means enough sleep to get the body back into fighting shape, is key.
Sleep needs vary by person, but most adults need 7-8 hours a night. Teens need 9-10 hours, school-aged kids need at least 10 hours, preschoolers need 11-12 hours, and newborns need 16-18 hours.
Over the past few decades, though, the average time asleep has dropped to less than 7 hours a night for adults. If you sleep less than your body needs, you’ll build up a sleep debt. And you can't make that up with naps or by sleeping in on weekends. Bottom line: Get to bed at a time when you know you can sleep at least 7 hours.
A positive attitude can be healthy.
Fact. A good outlook may be good for your health. One study of law students showed that their immune systems kept pace with their thoughts about how tough school would be. When they felt better about school, they had a better immune system. When they were worried, their immune system slowed. The upshot: Looking on the bright side might better equip your body to fight illnesses.