11 habits that damage your immune system

What is immune system

The immune system is our body’s number one defence mechanism. It protects us from various types of bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Our immunity and our health are directly related. The stronger the immune system, the more protection you have against colds, viruses and other illnesses that can attack your body. On the other hand, a weak immunity can make you more vulnerable to frequent colds, sinus infection and slow wound healing as well as causing anaemia, fatigue and lethargy.

it is a quite surperising fact that many common daily habits harm our immune system. In fact, most of our habits directly impact our immune system. To keep our immune system strong, it is important to adopt healthy habits and quit the bad ones. Let’s take a look at the top 11 everyday habits that directly harm our immune system.

These 11 habits are following :

1. Being a night owl

If you work late nights or like watching television or doing projects late into the night, you may have weak immunity. Poor sleep habits lower the immune system functioning and reduce the level of white blood cells that fight germs. Sleep deprivation also reduces the production of protective cytokines. While you sleep, your immune system releases different types of cytokines and help to protect your body against infections and diseases. If you are sleep deprived, their production decrease significantly.

2. Avoid skipping on sleep

Develop proper sleep hygiene. Be in the bed at a fixed time every night and try to wake up at the same time every morning. Insomnia is also a factor which affects our immune system. Be sure to get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep every night.

3. Excessive sugar intake

If you often eat or drink something sweet to satisfy your craving, you can suffer from weak immunity. Refined sugar can reduce the capability of white blood cells to kill germs. Sugar actually prevents vitamin C from getting into the white blood cells resulting in weakened immunity. Interestingly the immune-suppressing effects of sugar start within 30 minutes after ingestion and may last for many hours. If you need to eat something sweet, go for fruits like oranges, apples, mangoes, watermelons and other that contain natural sugars to satisfy your cravings. Vitamin C in these fruits will also help your immune system to work in a more efficient manner.

4. Excessive alcohol consumption

The benefits that a daily glass of wine can contribute to cardiovascular health is scientifically proven. But excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can throw away all the benefits of moderate consumption. In addition, not all alcoholic beverages have the same benefits of wine. Many have a high alcohol level that our body can not metabolise which depress the ability of the immune system. Also, excessive alcohol consumption reduces the number of white blood cells, slows down digestive activity and overload liver work reducing its ability to store vitamins. All these factors contribute to the poor immunity in alcoholics.

5. Smoking

Some alcoholic beverages can be acceptable in a controlled amount. But in the case of tobacco, there is no limit allowed. Cigarettes contain more than 250 highly harmful substances. Some out of these are considered poisonous such as ammonia, arsenic, nicotine and toluene. The human body is not made to process chemicals as potent and devastating as those contained in the cigarettes. Slowly, smoking affects all systems of the human body and the immune system is no exception.

6. Consuming too much caffeine

Drinking too much coffee and other caffeinated beverages is also lower our immunity. Excessive caffeine stimulates your system by increasing the tension level of the body. A high-stress level causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Cortisol suppress our immune system and make us more prone to infections and other health problems. Elevated cortisol also linked to health issues related to the heart, blood sugar and high cholesterol. When taken in moderation, coffee provides many health benefits like increased alertness, mood and energy. So limit yourself to just one to two cups of coffee per day.

7. Eating junk food

Eating junk food in excess can be bad for your immunity. Junk food is usually high in fat and eating excess fat is the main reasons behind obesity. A diet high in saturated fats can harm the immune system even before the weight begins to show. Obesity can affect the ability of white blood cells to multiply and produce antibodies. Thus making you more prone to infections. So cut down on fast food and choose a healthy diet instead.

8. Inadequate intake of water

The human body is mostly made of water. In every cell of our body, water performs numerous functions. If you don’t drink enough water to replenish what your body needs, it will surely affect your immune system. Proper hydration is essential for building stronger immunity. A healthy person should drink about eight to ten glasses of water per day. however, the amount of water you drink may depend upon the climate in which you live, how physically active you are and your overall health.

9. Sedentary lifestyle

Lack of regular physical activity is harmful in every way for the body. The sedentary lifestyle literally makes the immune system sleep. Engaging in any sport or some form of physical exercise activates it to fight viral and bacterial infections. Physical exercise decreases the possibility of suffering from chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis or heart disease. Exercise reduces stress and increases the production of antibodies and white blood cells. On the other hand, when we work out, our body temperature rises. This elevation of body temperature reduces the possibility of bacterial growth on your body. Physical activity is essential for building a stronger immunity and there is no doubt about it.

10. Excessive exercise

As we told you earlier that exercise helps to enhance our immunity. But excessive exercise lowers our immunity. Our body has a fixed limit. If we attempt to push it beyond its physical limits, it stops functioning correctly. Your immune system also stops responding efficiently and you fall prey to infections easily.

Researches show that over 90 minutes of high-intensity exercise can build you more vulnerable to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. Intense exercise seems to cause a short term decrease in immune function.

During these intense workout periods, the body produces certain hormones that temporarily lower the immunity. Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones perform numerous important functions in our body. But they also raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and also suppress the immune system.

Always make sure that you’re taking proper rest and don’t overwork yourself. The heavy long run exercise like marathon running and intense gym training has been proven to lower your immunity and reduce the ability to fight viral infections.

11. Poor social relation

Believe it or not, avoiding people or human connections may also affect your immunity. Social relationships, both the quantity and quality affect our mental state which affects our health behaviour and indirect affects our immunity also .

Those who have poor social relations usually run a minimum of twice the chance of serious illnesses and premature death compared to the people that have good social relations. If you wish to be healthier, you can’t avoid people .1Believe it or not, our body is desighned to be a part of the society. Putting time and efforts into positively interacting with others will inevitably bring you a lot health benefits.

Don’t Go to Sleep? Here are 5 Easy Ways to Get Rid of it

it happens with most of us everyday that we want to sleep but we didn’t. If you ask this question to medical science, then you may suffer from insomnia. Insomnia is common now-a-days due to our tense lifestyle. So, let’s take a look about causes of why you don’t go to sleep.

What is insomnia

Insomnia is a condition in which you feel trouble with falling asleep. In insomnia, you don’t go to sleep even if you have the opportunity of sleeping full night. It can happen to you even if your weather conditions are in favour.

Some people with insomnia have trouble falling asleep while some other wakeup throughout the night. These disturbances typically happen at least three times a week.

Acute insomnia lasts shorter than a month whereas chronic insomnia lasts over a month. Insomnia affects both the quality and quantity of sleep which causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue. If you don’t go to sleep, it can lead to professional and personnel problems, as well as day to day challenges like falling asleep while driving.

If we go by the definition of insomnia, we divide the night sleep into three parts. In other words, insomnia has three types of symptoms:

  • First is not having proper sleep. If we don’t go to sleep in one to two hours after going to bed. Or it is simply called the delay in sleep.
  • Another type of insomnia is when we sleep for a short time and then wake up. Or it is a condition when we complete our sleep in 3 to 4 short sleep cycles.
  • When we woke up early in the morning without any alarm or having proper sleep.

The above written symptoms appear in the night. If the problem stops here, we call it just the lack of sleep. But insomnia is when these symptoms appear in the daytime also. The daytime symptoms of insomnia are tiredness, headache, changes in mood, irritation, not able to concentrate etc.

Causes of insomnia (why you don’t go to sleep)

Insomnia can happen from any underlying cause. it can even accompany and worsen other problems like pulmonary disease, psychiatric conditions, and an entire sort of conditions that may cause pain.

  1. If you are facing any health-related problem from a very long time like the joint problem, backache, lungs problem, heart problem etc, then it may cause you sleeplessness.
  2. If you are taking any kind of medicine which have an alerting effect on our brain and body.
  3. Our daily routine or our lifestyle is also a major cause of insomnia. Our habit of staying up late at night or use of electronic gadgets also cause sleeplessness.
  4. Insomnia is also a common side effect of stimulants like caffeine, as well as depressants like alcohol which can both disrupt the sleep cycle.
  5. Smoking is also a cause of insomnia.
  6. Finally and most typically, insomnia may be the consequence of daily stresses from work or relationships additionally as environmental factors like having a job during an evening shift.

Biological factors related why you don’t go to sleep

There are variety of biological factors related why you don’t go to sleep. Studies have shown that people with insomnia might have a heightened level of the stress hormone cortisol. It plays a role in the process of waking every morning.

People with insomnia are more sensitive to the effect of cortisol. Typically they wake up at a far lower level of cortisol as compared to the common population. In addition, insomnia is also associated with a reduced level of estrogen and reduced levels of progesterone. It can happen during menopause.

Commonly, individuals with insomnia will self medicate with alcohol and benzodiazepines, both of which might be extremely dangerous.

Alcohol abuse can cause variety of physical and psychological changes which will rapidly worsen the sleep-wake cycle and cause dependence. Similarly, benzodiazepine, especially short-acting ones, also can create dependence and have a high abuse potential. they may actually worsen insomnia if someone tries to give a pause using them.

Also read: 11 habits that damage your immune system

Treatment (Easy ways to get rid of it)

There are many ways to cure insomnia. They are as follow:

1. Good sleep hygiene

One method of treatment is getting good sleep hygiene, which involves getting to sleep and awakening a similar time each day including weekends, getting good exercise (but not right before bed), reducing alcohol intake, avoiding daytime naps, avoiding caffeine and smoking in the evening, and not going to sleep hungry.

2. Stimulus control

Another potential treatment is stimulus control which comprises using the bed only to sleep instead of an area from which to watch television, text, or talk on the phone. It also helps to keep the environment calm. It also help in sleep faster by removing bright lights like a computer or phone screen and minimizing noise. Sometimes, though, these are unavoidable in which case eye covers and earplug can definitely help.

3. Drinking water cycle

Avoid drinking water after 5 pm. If you drink water afternoon, then it may cause pressure on your kidney. You feel a continuous urge to pee again and again. This urine pressure can cause trouble with your stomach. Due to which, your brain send a signal to you to go to the toilet. Thus frequent urination also disturbs your sleep cycle.

4. Chamomile tea and yoga

chamomile-tea

If you tried above ways and still don’t go to sleep, then you can drink chamomile tea before going to bed. And make sure that your bedroom light should not be very bright. Use a dim light lamp in your bedroom. Practice yoga daily and make it your lifestyle. (1)

5. Behavioural therapy

Also for treatment, there is behaviour therapy, which includes relaxation techniques as well as cognitive behavioural therapy to help better manage problems and life stressors.

while you practice these techniques, your doctor may advice you some medications also. These medications are such as melatonin agonists, non-benzodiazepine sedatives, and occasionally benzodiazepines might be prescribed to help with sleep. These medications can often have side effects. (1) That is why they are generally used for fewer than two months, usually together with behavioural therapy techniques.