Guest Blog by Leslie Fischer, Founder of Sustainable Slumber
As a busy mom of little children, I live in fear of getting sick. Gone are the days when I could take a sick day and relax until I feel better. When most moms get sick, they still have to take care of their kids and households; they just have to do it while feeling weak, congested and generally miserable! The beautiful spring weather is here and as I reflect back on winter, I realize that did not get sick once this year! After Christmas, I decided to take the following steps to improve my health during cold and flu season and as a result, I felt great all winter!
One overlooked and very simple strategy for improving your immune system is adequate sleep. Our immune systems are complex; they are constructed of many types of cells and proteins that keep colds and other illnesses at bay. If we are sleep deprived, we have less t-cells to protect us. In addition, sleep-deprived people have higher levels of cytokines and these elevated levels make it easier for a cold or flu bug to make us sick. When you sleep well, your immune system is boosted and can fight off the winter illnesses that make many of us so miserable. Sleeping well will pay you remarkable health dividends yet it is a low-cost, passive activity!
Keeping toxins out of our bodies is smart health move for many reasons. Many environmental toxins disrupt the way our hormones are meant to function. These endocrine disrupters are present in many things that we breathe, slather on our bodies or even eat! Our hormones are responsible for many of our biological functions. Our hormones control the way our bodies develop, sleep, grow and even repair themselves. Many celebrities tout the benefits of their latest detox diet but another approach is to avoid putting toxins in our bodies in the first place. Many of these toxins are found in our foods. Eat Cleaner’s produce wash is a good way to prepare your fruits and veggies before eating. This produce wash is lab-proven to remove 99% more pesticides, wax and residue than water!
We spent about a third of our lives in bed, yet many people do not think about their mattresses and how off-gassing affects their bedroom’s air quality. This off-gassing occurs when VOCs (volatile organic compounds) begin to break down and release gas into the surrounding environment, contaminating your bedroom’s air quality. In order to pass strict flame tests, many mattresses are doused in toxic flame retardants, many of which are hazardous to human health. Investing in the best organic mattress you can afford allows you to avoid this exposure, since organic mattresses use alternative methods to pass strict flame tests. Some organic mattresses use wool, which are naturally fireproof, and some even use Kevlar, the material used in bullet-proof vests! This winter, I made sure that the air quality in my bedroom was good by investing an organic mattress to improve the air I breathe all night. Those who find organic mattresses too expensive for their budget can look for a conventional mattress that doesn’t use toxic flame retardants. Ask the manufacturer what fireproofing agents they use to pass flame tests; many conventional mattresses are starting to use more eco-friendly alternatives.
This winter, I invested in a very basic saline nasal spray that I use when the air is cold and dry. The low humidity of frigid winter air makes it hard for our nasal passages to produce moisture. When the inside of our nose is dry, the membranes can become more fragile and that fragile lining can crack, allowing cold viruses to enter our bodies more easily. Keeping my nose moist is one more strategy I have used to keep winter illnesses at bay.
Adequate sleep, avoiding toxins and keeping my nose moist have helped me to stay healthy this winter, even though it seems everyone around me was coughing and sneezing! These strategies seem simple, but the results have been remarkable. What did you do to stay healthy this winter? Please share in the comments below!