Our Favorite Tips on How To Avoid Getting Sick This Winter

We all know that this time of year is when germs run rampant through college campuses- cold weather has people in close confined spaces and the common cold seems inescapable. Below we compiled some of our favorite tips and tricks to keep everyone healthy and happy this winter.

Make sleep a priority:

According to this article, our bodies produce more white blood cells when we sleep and these little white warriors attack viruses and bacteria. The same article referred to a study in which people who got at least eight hours of sleep a night were three times less likely to catch a cold than those who got seven hours or less. Moral of the story? You shouldn't feel guilty about calling it an early night. 

Cut back on your alcohol intake: 

Okay, so we know that sleep is crucial to keeping our immune systems alive and well, but does alcohol hurt or help our sleep cycles? I have friends who claim that a glass of wine before bed does wonders to help them fall asleep and others who claim that drinking leaves them feeling groggy in the morning. So, whose claims are valid? Well, they both are!

According to Health.com, alcohol decreases the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep initially.  However, it causes you to lose more sleep later on in the night, due to the rebound effect, which is often why someone who drank heavily that evening finds them selves wide awake at 4am. Heavy drinking also reduces the amount of REM sleep that you get, which is the most restorative type of sleep and missing out on this crucial part of your sleep cycle is likely why heavy drinkers feel so groggy in after a night out.

Drink some tea: 

This one might be more reactive than proactive, but drinking tea is a great way to fight off a cold when it is in its beginning stages. Hot tea helps thin mucus and according to a testimonial from an MD, “drinking the tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia—the hair follicles in the nose—to move out germs more efficiently. Lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial."

Eat more protein: 

I’m far from a nutritionist but I remember enough from my intro to health class to know that getting enough protein in your diet is essential to keep your immune system running. This article explains that “without the full range of amino acids, particularly glutamine and arginine, your immune system cannot function effectively. The absence of protein can deplete your white blood cell count, making it difficult for your body to fight off infection.” So try to eat some protein-rich foods throughout the day, like eggs fish or chicken.

We hope you all have a healthy and happy winter! HCXO.