It seems that everywhere you turn right now, somebody is sick. At the office, in school, or working out at the gym, we are all surrounded by festering pools of illness. Despite your best efforts to stay healthy, including washing your hands at every opportunity and lathering on hand sanitizer when a sink isn't easily within reach, it's inevitable that you might fall victim to the common cold. What, then, can you do if you think you are starting to get sick? Is there any way to lessen its duration or severity that works?
Get some sleep.
The single best way to ward off a cold is to keep your immune system healthy, and adequate rest is the cornerstone to keeping your natural defense mechanisms humming at peak efficiency. A published review from a sleep laboratory in Belgium in 2011 showed increased systemic inflammation and decreased white cell function, both markers of an altered immune system, in people with chronic sleep reduction. Strive for a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night and increase to nine or 10 hours if you feel a cold is coming on. It could be just the thing to lessen a cold's duration or ward it off entirely.
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