Public Health Blog With Peggy Hall

I know, I know — you’re probably as tired of hearing about the flu as I am!

But — there is one simple thing you can do to make sure you avoid getting sick.

Can you guess what it is? Hint: it’s not washing your hands, though that is definitely a good tip. But all the hand washing in the world won’t work if you don’t do this:

Get a good night’s sleep!

Yep! As simple as it sounds, getting a good night’s sleep is THE BEST WAY to keep your immune system strong.

You see, when you’re sleeping, your body is healing and repairing itself.

Being run-down from lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and too much stress is a sure recipe for illness, whether it’s from the Swine Flu or just whatever cold is going around.

Here are my top best ways to avoid getting sick:

1. Get enough sleep (aim for 8 hours, getting to bed before 11:00 pm, which is when the “wake-up” hormone cortisol starts to be released, making it harder to fall asleep after midnight or so).

2. Stay away from sugar, caffeine, greasy foods and anything processed. Sugar is the worst because the body sees it as an invader (just like bacteria) and will send all the white blood cells after it to destroy it. Those white blood cells should be fighting off illness instead. A cup of coffee is fine — but more than that, and you’re stressing your adrenal glands. Better to keep that adrenaline for surfing, not stressing!

3. Exercise, but not too vigorously. If you’ve been following the Yoga for Surfers programs, you’re doing great! But always listen to your body and take a break when you need to. Over-exercising actually weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick.

Get the last two tips for warding off the flu at