1. Get more sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. Thankfully sleep is a natural response to those long, dark nights that we’re having. On average, we sleep six and a half hours a night, which is less than the recommended eight. However in winter, we do tend to sleep longer.
Tips for getting a good night’s sleep include: going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, getting regular exercise (see point 4!), creating a restful sleeping environment, and doing something relaxing right before you go to bed, such as listening to quiet music (no heavy metal!) or taking a hot bath.
2. Drink more milk and eat healthily
You’re more likely to get a cold in winter, so it’s important that you do everything that you can to boost your immune system. You should drink water regularly, to flush out toxins and stay hydrated, but you should also try and drink more milk.
Milk is great for calcium, which builds strong bones, and is a source of essential vitamins such as A, D and B12.
Eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg every day, and try and get as many types and colours as possible in there for optimum benefit. Different fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of nutrient, so it’s important to mix them up!
And avoid junk food – it does you no good at all!
3. Manage your stress
Stress can lower your immune system’s defences, making you even more susceptible to the colds and flu that are flying around at this time of year. Exercise and a good night’s sleep can help, but if you’re really stressed, it may be a good idea to sit back and take stock of what’s really stressing you out, and then work out a way of dealing with this. Stressing and worrying about things you can’t change does nobody any good!
It’s tempting to forgo exercise when the weather turns cold. The last thing you want to do is go for a jog early in the morning and when you get home from work, all you want to do is stay in by the fire with a nice cup of tea. But it’s at this time of year that exercise is vital.
If you don’t fancy going for a run, or going swimming, then why not join a gym, or try going to yoga or Zumba classes? This time of year is great for this as many places have special offers on, recognizing that people often make a New Year’s resolution to get fit or lose weight.
5. Wash your hands
Probably the single most important thing that you can do to prevent infections. Research has shown that this is the most efficient way to reduce transmission of bacteria and germs. A lot of illnesses cant be spread simply through touching contaminated surfaces, so if you want to avoid getting sick this winter, washing your hands regularly is a must.
You should wash your hands as soon as you get home, before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. You can simply use soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer if you can’t get to a sink.
Hopefully the above tips with keep you healthy and happy all winter. If, unfortunately, you do come down with a cold, be sure to drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and take an OTC medication for relief from your cold and flu symptoms.
Author bio: Cairn Technology specialise in infection prevention and control in hospitals and care homes throughout the UK.