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Bug watch

Not to be confused with any spin off series of Spring Watch…no, we’re talking bugs as in colds, bugs and viruses and, unfortunately, it’s that time of year we tend to start being on watch.

This Autumn is the first year that all primary-aged school children will be offered the flu vaccine and the NHS are encouraging many others to have the vaccine too. But, whether you choose to be vaccinated against the flu or not, there’s lots aside we can do to put our bodies on guard against the inevitable onslaught of bugs and viruses that will soon begin doing the rounds.

The best thing we can do is essentially to do all the things you’d normally do to stay well in terms of eating healthily, exercising AND sleeping. We don’t often think of the relationship between our sleep and our immune system but there is one and – like all the best relationships – it’s fairly  complicated. 

When we sleep, our immune system releases proteins called cytokines and the purpose of these proteins is to help regulate our body’s immune response to infections or inflammation. So, without getting too science-y, we can quickly get a sense of what’s happening with our immune system when we sleep and – on the flip side – it also gives us a clue what we’re missing out in when we don’t.

So, if you’re getting ready for bug watch this autumn / winter, don’t let the thought of all the bugs keep you awake at night! Sleep soundly, letting your immune system do it’s thing and your body take over bug watch while you snooze.