It’s true: flu
season is upon us. Coughs, chills, aches, fever, fatigue, and runny or stuffy
noses…who says it’s the most wonderful time of the year? It’s hard to say
what’s worse as a mom: getting sick yourself, taking care of a sick child, or
taking care of a sick husband.
But never fear!
Getting the flu this year is not a foregone conclusion. The obvious preventative
measure, of course, is getting a flu shot (we’ll be heading to Shoppers Drug
Mart very soon) since 70 – 90% of flu cases can be averted through
In addition,
there are several ways we can try to boost our immunity to stay healthy,
contract fewer illnesses and bounce back faster when we do.
Not smoking,
exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight (check, check, and check)
and eating a healthy diet (hey, no one’s perfect!) are all lifestyle choices
that can improve immunity.
Today, however,
I’d like to wax lyrical about my favourite healthy habit: getting enough sleep!
Sleep is so
important for adults, and experts say that sleep deprivation can actually
suppress immune system function. Obviously when there are special circumstances
(e.g., feeding a baby during the night) moms can’t all get the recommended
eight hours. However I’m always surprised by how many women say that they just
don’t have time for sleep – not realizing that they would be so much more
productive (not to mention healthier) during the day if they had adequate rest.
In a recent issue
of Redbook magazine, Dr. Helen Koenig, an instructor of medicine and infectious
disease, is quoted as saying, “Sleep allows your immune system to
regenerate overnight. While you sleep, your body releases chemicals called
cytokines that help you better fight infection…It isn’t glamorous or sexy,
but it works!”

Speaking of glamorous and
sexy, I’m not the only one who believes in the incredible value of sleep. A
couple of super-productive and energetic celebrity moms feel the same way as I
do. “Sleep is my weapon,” says Jennifer Lopez,  “I try to get eight hours a night.”
Beyonce agrees: “Having peace, happiness and healthiness is my definition
of beauty. And you can’t have any of that without sleep.” If these power
women find time for shut-eye, what’s our excuse?

I know it’s not
always easy, but common recommendations like limiting caffeine and screen time
before bed and sleeping in a cool, dark room can really help. (I even tuck my
alarm clock under my bed every night so the glow of the screen doesn’t disrupt
my sleep. For real.)
It’s not just
parents who need to get enough z’s. According to the Canadian Paediatric
Society, school-aged children (Kindergarten through Grade 5) should be getting
10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Do some quick math: start at the time you
usually wake your children up in the morning, and count back ten hours. Are
they out cold every night by that time? As a teacher, I can’t even begin to
tell you how important it is that kids come to school well-rested…and not
just because of the impact on their immunity.

My girls are both great
sleepers (we can have the whole sleep-training discussion later), but my
10-year-old mini-me requires lots of downtime: reading before bed, and then
some thinking time in the dark before she actually drifts off and I can
officially start counting her sleep time. That means I have to make sure she’s
in bed well before that invisible 10 hour timer starts ticking.

See? We take sleep very seriously!
I can promise
you, much to the amusement of my book club (“It’s ten o’clock! Past Kate’s
bedtime!”) I will remain passionate about getting at least eight hours of
sleep a night throughout this flu season and beyond. And of course I will be
heading to Shoppers Drug Mart as soon as possible to get my flu shot.
Now for a great
giveaway! One lucky This Mom Loves winner will receive an awesome Flu Fighters
pack from Shoppers Drug Mart valued at $150 containing the following:
  • Life Brand Hand Sanitizer
  • Cough Drops
  • Vaporizing Cold Rub
  • Electrolyte Maintenance Powder
  • Disinfectant Wipes
  • Vaporizer
  • PC chicken noodle soup
  • PC facial tissues
  • PC Feeling Soothed
  • $100 gift card

All you have to do to enter to win is post a tweet or Facebook update that contains all three of the following:

1. A link to this post (the one you’re reading right now!)
2. A tag for @thismomloves
3. The hashtag #SDMflufighters

For example:

How to boost your immunity with sleep and win a $150 prize pack from @thismomloves

Feel free to use that exact tweet, but be careful with Facebook: if you copy and paste, you still need to type @thismomloves manually or the tag won’t pop up and I won’t be notified in order to count your entry!

The giveaway runs until Sunday, November 13th at midnight Eastern, after which time the entries will be totalled and a winner will be chosen through random number generation. Good luck…and happy flu-fighting!

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart. Opinions are, as always, my own.

33 comments on “Boost Your Immunity During Flu Season – Plus a Giveaway!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *