Fight colds with a better night's sleep

(NC) No matter how hard you try, sometimes it can be difficult to get enough sleep with work deadlines and other worries on your mind. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Canadian Health Food Association, 73 per cent of Canadians say that a lack of sleep negatively affects their health.

Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can impact your immune cells and make it difficult for your body to identify and fight cold and flu bugs. It can also affect your diet by altering your “hunger hormones” and increasing your desire to indulge on sugary and salty foods. This can influence the careful nutrient balance needed for a healthy immune system.

The percentage of adults who sleep less than six hours a night is currently greater than at any other time on record. If you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, try cutting down on screen time before bed — including television, cellphone and computer use. This can help you sleep more soundly, as studies show that blue light emitted from devices confuses our biological clocks and sleep patterns.

You can also try these natural health products:

Vitamin D. Those with lower levels of vitamin D were found to sleep less. If you fall into this category, you might want to try vitamin D supplementation, especially during the colder months when the lack of sunshine makes getting enough of it extremely difficult.

Magnesium. This mineral helps calm the nervous system, induces relaxation, reduces blood pressure, and even increases energy during the day — all important factors when trying to get some rest.

L-theanine. This amino acid promotes relaxation and better sleep by reducing anxiety that might be keeping you up at night.

Melatonin. This nerve hormone is well known in the natural health world for increasing total sleep time and reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

Find more information and these natural remedies at your local CHFA Member health food or online at chfa.ca. Always consult a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.

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