Health News

L’huile d’argan : comment l’utiliser ?
L’huile d’argan : comment l’utiliser ?

Nous connaissons toutes les bienfaits de l’Huile d’Argan; elle est reconnue pour ses propriétés nutritives, régénérante et restructurante. L’argan, grâce à sa richesse en vitamine E, a la capacité de restaurer le film hydro-lipidique. L’huile d’argan est utilisée depuis la nuit des temps par les femmes berbères du Maroc pour ses vertus exceptionnelles.

Il existe différentes façons d’utiliser l’huile d’argan. Les connaissez-vous ?


1. En massage :

Commençons par le massage des zones relâchées : cuisses, bras, ventre. Versez de l’huile d’argan au creux de votre main, chauffez l’huile puis appliquez la sur les zones désirées en effectuant des massages circulaires et des palpés roulés. Massez jusqu’à ce que l’huile pénètre le plus possible.


2. Pour le visage et le corps :

Reconnue pour ses vertus anti-oxydantes, elle protège des agressions extérieures. Régénérante, elle lutte contre le vieillissement cutané. Adoucissante et nourrissante, elle assure un grand confort. Versez dans le creux de la main quelques gouttes de ce nectar. Du bout des doigts, massez délicatement le visage, le cou et le corps.


3. Pour les ongles et cuticules :

L’huile d’argan est idéale pour nourrir l’ongle et de le fortifier naturellement.
Astuces pour l’application : Trempez un coton-tige directement dans l’huile et appliquez-le sur l’ongle.


4. Le « must » en application sur les cheveux :

Vous avez les cheveux secs, cassants, dévitalisés, fourchus ? Bref rien ne va plus ? En utilisant l’huile d’argan sur les cheveux, ils retrouveront toute leur brillance, souplesse et douceur.


Nos conseils d’utilisation :

  • En masque rapide avant le shampooing: humidifiez vos cheveux (bien les essorer), versez dans votre main de l’huile chauffez-la, puis appliquez-la sur les longueurs en insistant sur les pointes. Laissez poser 10 minutes puis procédez au shampooing. Pour celles qui ont les cheveux très secs associés à des chutes il est possible d’appliquer l’huile dès la racine, pour fortifier le cuir chevelu.


  • En masque pendant la nuit : appliquez l’huile sur cheveux humides, enroulez vos cheveux et faites un chignon assez haut de manière à ce que cela ne gêne pas la nuit. Le lendemain faites un shampooing. Résultat vos cheveux sont revigorés et brillants.


  • En sérum de jour : appliquez quelques gouttes sur les pointes sèches
Habits that could be damaging your skin
Habits that could be damaging your skin

There are many things that we do day-to-day that could be damaging our skin without us realising. These are often habits we have formed over time thinking we are doing the best for our bodies, but we could be doing more harm than good.

The most common daily habits we have that can be detrimental to our skin’s health: 


Too much caffeine

Many of us will start our day with a cup of coffee, and continue to drink it to keep us feeling alert throughout the day. However, too much caffeine can have a negative effect on our skin due to its dehydrating properties. Caffeinated drinks can also play havoc with your blood sugar levels, which has also been known to aggravate skin conditions such as acne. To stop your favourite caffeine-laden beverages from having an effect on your skin, try and switch for decaf options or green tea.


Popping pimples & squeezing blackheads

It can be tempting to squeeze a spot when we see one emerge on our face, but there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t pop a pimple when it makes an appearance.

One of the main reasons is that you can tear the skin, creating more damage to an already sensitive area. There is also a chance that long nails can cause further damage to the surrounding healthy skin. Popping pimples has also been known to cause scars, and this is often the case for those who have suffered with severe acne previously.


Using too many products in your skincare routine

Skin has a delicate pH balance, and mixing a number of different products together can upset this balance. Use only the very basics, i.e. cleanser and moisturiser. This not only reduces the amount of chemicals you apply to your skin, but it will also speed up your skincare routine!



Exfoliation is used to remove a build up of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, but too much can be too harsh and actually damage the skin. It has been advised by some dermatologists that you should exfoliate around 2-3 times every week. This helps to keep the skin clean and pores unclogged, but also ensures you aren’t damaging the newly refreshed skin. It’s also important to use an exfoliant that has smaller granules as it offers more gentle exfoliation. Natural products made from organic ingredients are great for this. They often use ground almonds and other natural ingredients, which are great for the health of your skin.


Too much talking on the phone

When we use our mobile phones we will often hold them against our face. However, how often do you clean your phone? For many people, the answer to this question is never.

For those on the phone multiple times a day, breakouts around the cheek or jaw line area may be noticeable. This is due to the bacteria being carried on your handset and spreading to your skin. Simply wiping your phone regularly with a gentle disinfecting wipe or makeup wipe can help to remove some of this bacteria and decrease the chance of breakouts.

How to get rid of fleas in your home?
How to get rid of fleas in your home?

It’s bad enough to find a few fleas in your home, but it’s even worse when you realize there may be a lot more. In fact, by the time you see a flea, there’s a good chance you have a full-blown flea infestation in your home. Adult fleas make up only 5% of a flea infestation. The remaining 95% consists of flea eggs, flea larvae and pupae hiding in your home and in your yard. Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they’ve made themselves at home, due to the rate at which they reproduce and the extent to which they can spread throughout the house.


How to get rid of fleas in your home?


  • Treat your pet and all other animals. Even if you’ve only seen fleas on one pet, there is a possibility that your other pets have them as well. Maintain a regular, long-term treatment schedule for each pet to limit the spread and help stop an infestation in its tracks.


  • Vacuum floors, carpets, area rugs and furniture. Remember to empty your vacuum cleaner and dispose of the bag after each use to prevent eggs from possibly hatching inside, which could lead to future flea infestation. Vacuum on a regular basis, especially in areas that pets frequent, until the infestation is cleared.


  • Wash pet bedding, including covers and inserts, in hot water. The hot water will help kill any remaining eggs or larvae on the fabric. This is an essential step for eliminating all the fleas. It is important to wash the bedding on a regular basis until the infestation is cleared.


  • Wash your family bedding in hot water. Treat these items with a household flea spray or wash them in hot water. The hot water will help kill remaining fleas and flea larvae, and remove flea dirt (a food source for immature fleas). Wash bathroom rugs and throw blankets, too — any places your pet likes to sleep or lounge.


  • Don’t forget to address uncommon flea hiding spots. Fleas can hide in cars and cabinets — but people often forget about these spaces. Remember to vacuum any fabric surfaces inside your car, and make sure your pet sits on a blanket that can be changed and washed regularly. Treat cabinets by vacuuming and following up with a flea spray.


  • Clean all of your dog’s or cat’s soft toys. Even your dog’s beloved squeaky plush or your cat’s toy mouse could potentially harbor flea eggs and larvae. If these toys can’t be washed, they may have to be thrown away.


How to help keep an infestation from coming back?

You may have worked hard to get rid of fleas in your home, but the entire cycle can repeat. Stay vigilant! All your hard work could be undone by visiting wildlife in your yard, a puppy play date or unhatched eggs that survived the first round of cleaning. Repeat the above steps as necessary until you no longer find fleas in your house.

Understanding dry eyes
Understanding dry eyes

Dry eye is the loss or reduction of the eye's ability to produce normal tears. It is one of the most frequent causes of visits to an eye care professional. A variety of factors may cause or contribute to this problem; some are age-related, some are related to the environment. It is a common and treatable condition.


Causes of Dry Eye

Dry eye can come from a number of causes, both physical and environmental. One common cause is when tear glands slow down tear production – a normal occurrence that happens with age, especially in women going through menopause.


Tear quality may also be the cause of dry eyes. In a normal tear, there are three components – water, mucous, and oil. These three components work together to provide the proper amount of moisture, distribute moisture evenly across the ocular surface, and prevent evaporation that can cause eyes to become dry. If any of the three components is compromised, the eye may not get the nourishment and protection it needs. Most commonly, there is not enough oil in the tears, leading to the evaporation that causes dry eye.


Diminished tear production may be associated with certain medications, such as antihistamines, birth control pills, diuretics, high blood pressure medicines, heart medicines, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatories, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or thyroid problems.


Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Regardless of the cause of dry eye, the signs and symptoms are similar. An eye care professional can diagnose dry eye through a comprehensive exam, observing tear flow and quality, as well as examining the ocular surface and eyelids for the following:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Eye stinging or burning
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

Your eye care professional will evaluate your eye condition to determine if you have dry eye and what may be causing it.


Treatment for Dry Eye

Dry eye is treated in a number of ways, to help soothe the symptoms or treat the underlying cause. The most common forms of treatment for dry eye include:

  • Minimize drying: avoid dry situations, such as an overheated room, wind or smoke. Outdoors, wear wraparound glasses to reduce drying effect of the wind.
  • Artificial tears: comforts eyes by supplementing natural tears, commonly used for mild cases of dry eye
  • Prescription eye drops: stimulates the production of natural tears, or inhibit ocular surface inflammation
How to get rid of blackheads?
How to get rid of blackheads?

When it comes to getting rid of blackheads, it's commonly believed that pore strips and blackhead extractors are the most effective methods. Is this true? Or, are there less invasive ways of getting rid of blackheads? Here's what you need to know.


What are blackheads and why do they develop?

Blackheads are the result of a build-up of skin cells and sebum. Unlike whiteheads however, they become exposed to the air – known as oxidation – and turn a dark color. They can occur on any skin type but are most likely to appear on naturally oily skin in places where there are high concentrations of sebaceous glands. The environment, such as pollution or sun exposure, can also be responsible for blackheads.


Traditional ways of getting rid of blackheads include squeezing with the fingers, pore strips, blackhead extractors, and dermatological procedures such as microdermabrasion. However, it's important to know that any time you push or pull at your skin, you risk spreading bacteria and/or damaging the fragile epidermis.


How salicylic and glycolic acids can get rid of blackheads?

Skin care ingredients such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid have been proven to exfoliate and penetrate deep into the pores and aid in the removal. Salicylic acid has properties that enable it to break up the skin’s follicular keratotic plugs - in other words, the oily components of a blackhead. This means that they can be washed right off instead of forcing them out. Glycolic acid, meanwhile, acts as an exfoliator and promotes profound cell turnover so that pores do not become blocked. These two ingredients are a great way to get rid of blackheads, without spreading bacteria.


So, before you apply pressure to your face, think about the more gentle - yet effective - topical solutions as part of a skincare routine, which can also prevent skin damage, acne scarring and can help get rid of blackheads.

The best ways to protect your pet from ticks
The best ways to protect your pet from ticks

Ticks can be a big problem for pets and their owners. But you can stay ahead of the game by knowing what to look out for and using a product to help protect your pet.


Know your ticks

Ticks are tiny parasites related to spiders that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They can be found anywhere in the world that wildlife live – particularly in the countryside grazed by sheep or deer – but also in town parks and even residential gardens. While ticks may only be a couple of millimeters long before they feed, they can grow to nearly a centimeter as they feast on blood. They can’t fly, but use what is known as “questing” behaviour. They climb to the top of a grass blade or other vegetation, extend their front legs, and latch onto your dog (or you!) as it passes by.


The hazards posed by ticks

Tick bites are hard to feel as a tick’s saliva has an anesthetizing effect. They often don’t even cause your dog to scratch. This means that unless you see the tick, you probably won’t know your dog has been bitten. Ticks are known to carry many diseases, including Lyme Disease, Canine Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis or Anaplasmosis. They can transmit these diseases to dogs and, in some cases, to humans with a single bite. All of these diseases can cause a range of symptoms such as loss of appetite, fever, lameness, swollen joints and swollen lymph nodes, and can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

Veterinarians and public health professionals throughout the world know the dangers of tick-borne diseases. The distribution of these diseases is increasing due to climate change and increased travel for pets. There are more cases in areas where the disease had not previously been found. Dogs imported from endemic areas are of particular concern for spread of a disease.

Ticks spend the bulk of their life cycle outdoors and their development and survival depend on the climate. The effects of climate change on ticks can be seen in a 30-year study conducted in Sweden, which showed a clear expansion of the parasite’s distribution range towards northern latitudes.1 Climate change means that ticks previously unseen in some regions might start to appear, along with the diseases that they can carry.


What about cats?

Tick-borne diseases in cats are much less common, but ticks can still cause problems. Ticks, as well as fleas, can also transmit a disease called Feline Infectious Anemia. This is a bacterial infection, which can lead to severe anaemia. Other serious diseases that can be transmitted from ticks to cats include Cytauxzoonosis, Tularemia, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease. Therefore, tick protection is still important for cats. On one hand, you protect your furry friend from unpleasant parasites and the transmission of diseases. On the other hand, you will protect yourselves and your family because some tick-borne diseases can also have zoonotic consequences.

Vectors, and diseases that they may transmit, are different in different parts of the world. This is important to consider when pets travel or when pets are imported. Always ask your vet for advice before your travel abroad. See video from Ian Wright for more information.


 Stopping ticks in their tracks

As a dog owner, you do everything to keep your friend healthy and happy and protect him or her from getting sick. But tick-borne diseases can be difficult to treat, and early recognition and treatment is important. You should always consult a doctor or vet if you are concerned about a member of your family, including your pet.

It is essential for pet owners to know that parasite protection is not optional. Repelling ticks before they have any opportunity to bite and transmit diseases can go a long way towards ensuring the health of a pet. This means that the correct use of effective tick protection is now more important than ever before and plays a key role in keeping pets safe.

Contact your local veterinarian for information and advice on effective parasite protection to ensure the health and well-being of your pet. This includes general preventative measures of pet owners. However, limiting exposure to ticks is currently the most effective method of prevention.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

We all know that the sun is harmful for our skin but understanding the difference between UVA and UVB rays is vital when choosing your sun protection. Read on to discover all you need to know about ultraviolet rays and your skin.

You’re probably aware that the ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun can be divided into two main types, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Both types damage unprotected skin - but did you know that they don’t affect skin in the same way? Understanding the difference is important when choosing your sun protection and the need for broad spectrum protection.


What are UVA rays?

UVA light, also known as long-wave light, is responsible for about 95% of the UV light that reaches our skin, with a wavelength of 320 nm to 400 nm. UVA rays are present all year round - as long as there’s daylight, there’s UVA. As the longest wave on the UV spectrum, they’re able to penetrate deep into the skin, 80% of UVA rays reach the outer layer of the dermis, the layer of skin beneath the epidermis. This makes them responsible for most preventable photo-ageing, as well as 35% of skin cancers.

Although both UVA and UVB are bad for skin, UVA rays are more of a worry because a much larger percentage of them reach earth’s surface and they are present all day long and all year-round, even when it’s cloudy. So if it’s daylight at any hour, UVA rays are present.

Unlike with UVB rays, you do not feel UVA rays damaging your skin. UVA rays are responsible for getting a suntan, and unless you burn first, getting a tan is not painful. However those stealthy UVA rays are reaching deep into skin, destroying many of the important substances that help give skin its elasticity and firmness. As a result of this, UVA rays are a major contributor to wrinkles and skin ageing as well as every type of skin cancer.

Another thing to remember is that UVA rays penetrate glass, which UVB rays can’t do. Unless windows are specially treated to filter UVA radiation, you could be under attack when simply sitting in your car or sitting by the window at work.


What are UVB rays?

UVB rays, meanwhile - the rays we most commonly associate with tanning - are at their greatest in the summer months and are responsible for 96% of sunburn cases. The intensity of UVB rays varies according to factors such as geographical location, time of day and the season. So in the Northern hemisphere you can expect them to be strongest in the summer months, in places with sunny climates, though like UVA rays they are present all year round.

UVB light has a much smaller range than UVA with a wavelength of 290 nm to 320 nm. Although it’s not as deeply skin-penetrating or omnipotent as UVA rays, UVB light is very powerful, that’s why it’s directly responsible for sunburn and other visible discolorations to skin’s surface.  UVB radiation also plays a part in skin cancers.

So, while both UVA and UVB rays can result in instant - and temporary - light tanning, their secondary effects vary, with UVB rays being mostly responsible for sunburn and UVA rays being major contributors to cutaneous photo-ageing. UVB and UVA radiation is reflected from sand, water, and snow, [In fact an astonishing 80% of UVB rays reflect from snow with higher altitudes being more damaging.] Together they lead to skin darkening and greying, wrinkles, loss of firmness, redness and collapse of immune defences. Scary stuff!  So wherever it is you’re going, you’ll want to pack a protection with broad-spectrum filters against UVA and UVB radiation, [the SPF rating only applies to protection against UVB rays].  If the sun protection is labelled “broad spectrum” it has been tested and proven to protect against the full range of UVA and UVB radiation.

The 6 nutrients expectant and breastfeeding mums need
The 6 nutrients expectant and breastfeeding mums need

If you are a breastfeeding mother, you know that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your newborn baby. Improving the health and wellbeing of both mum and baby it has been estimated that breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity compared to feeding formula.

With authorities worldwide recommending that infants are breastfed for at least the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health we are looking at the top six nutrients to boost health, for mum and baby, during lactation.

  • Vitamin D

Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is crucial in the body’s absorption of calcium which helps to build baby’s bones and teeth. Some good sources of vitamin D include fortified or fat-free milk, fortified orange juice, egg yolks and salmon.

The NHS suggest that everyone, including pregnant women and women who breastfeed, should consider taking a daily supplement to counteract not only the lack of sunshine in the UK but also our increasingly indoor lifestyles and processed diets. As human breastmilk is known to be a very poor source of vitamin D it is recommended that all breastfed infants receive a supplement.

  • Calcium

Not only does calcium contribute to the formation of healthy bones and teeth it is also responsible for the healthy functioning of the circulatory, muscular and nervous systems. Good food sources of calcium include low-fat dairy, spinach, calcium fortified orange juice and cereals.

Calcium is important during breastfeeding as it can affect the mothers bone mass. During lactation the growing baby’s increased need for calcium is drawn from the mother’s bones meaning women lose a small percentage of their bone mass, ultimately putting them at greater risk of fractures and osteoporosis in later life.

  • Vitamin B12

During foetal development the foundations for the brain, nervous system and general health are laid. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in all these functions as well as in the formation of baby’s red blood cells, therefore a deficiency at this time can have long term consequences. For mum, sources of this vitamin include lean meats, poultry, fish and fat-free or low-fat milk.

Human breast milk contains almost exactly the same amount of vitamin B12 as the mother’s blood, so it is important for mum to ensure she not only gets enough of this vital vitamin for herself, but enough for baby too. There is significance placed on vegan and vegetarian breastfeeding mothers as plant-based sources of vitamin B12 are poorly absorbed by the body, increasing the likelihood of deficiency.

  • Iron

Many women are known to become anaemic during pregnancy and after childbirth due to the blood loss experienced and their increased nutrient needs. Iron deficiency anaemia can produce feelings of tiredness and heightens the risk of infection. To prevent this, increase intakes of meat, green leafy vegetables and lentils or consider taking an iron supplement.

A baby’s body typically absorbs iron better through breastmilk than from other sources because it also contains vitamin C to help with absorption through the digestive system. When healthy and carried to full term, newborn babies have enough iron stores to last for at least their first six months of life with many pediatricians recommending that babies need an iron supplement after six months of age.

  • Magnesium

Due to modern diets and lifestyles many nutrients are increasingly under represented or omitted, magnesium is one of these nutrients with seven in ten of us suffering from low levels. Increase your magnesium intake with foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, meat and fish.

Magnesium plays an important role in the deactivation of adrenaline, which is a stress hormone that interferes with the production of breast milk. For this reason, it is important to keep stress levels low while breastfeeding.

  • Zinc

Essential for skin health, immune function and optimal reproductive health as well as growth and proper development there is an increased need for zinc during lactation to meet baby’s needs. Sources of zinc include meat, avocado, pomegranate, nuts and seeds. During breastfeeding nutrients are derived from maternal stores, therefore risk of deficiency is increased if mum has poor zinc levels going into pregnancy or breastfeeding. If appropriate levels are maintained breast milk should provide enough zinc for the first four to six months of baby’s life.

Remember breastfeeding is the foundation to lifelong health for babies and mothers so please consult your GP if you are concerned about nutrient deficiency.

What is eczema?
What is eczema?

Eczema is a dry skin condition that is associated with itchiness and irritation. Eczema symptoms can include very dry skin, rough patches, and scaling. Eczema generally starts in childhood and affects up to 1 in 4 children. No matter your age, eczema requires treatment during flare-ups and a suitable maintenance routine to manage symptoms.


What is eczema? 

Eczema is a common, non-contagious skin condition that is characterized by dry, red, scaly, or itchy skin. In more severe cases, the skin can crack, bleed, and/or crust. Eczema can affect people of all ages.

There are many different types of eczema, or dermatitis. These include:

  • Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, refers to the classic scaly patches that usually begin in childhood and can affect the extensor surfaces of the arms and backs of the knees.
  • Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis is a result of a reaction to a known irritant and/or allergen that comes in contact with the skin.
  • Nummular eczema refers to coin-shaped, scaly patches occurring usually on the extremities. It is caused by allergens or very dry skin.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis occurs in common oil-producing (sebaceous) glands like the upper back, nose and scalp.
  • Dyshidrotic eczema are small, itchy blisters on the edges of the fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet.
  • Stasis dermatitis occurs when there is inadequate blood flow in the veins causing swelling, skin redness and itchiness, often occurring in the legs.


What causes eczema? 

While what causes eczema is still unknown, it has been linked to both genetic and environmental factors. Those who develop eczema symptoms are thought to have an immune system that is reactive to certain irritants. Eczema patient’s skin is unable to properly retain moisture, which may be caused by a deficiency in naturally occurring moisturizing factors found in normal skin. To understand this, it is important to understand the function of the skin barrier, the protective, outermost layer of our skin. One of its primary functions is to regulate moisture and to keep harmful substances from entering the skin. It helps keep the good things in and the bad things out.

Eczema-prone skin suffers from dysfunctional skin barrier function. This means that it retains less moisture than healthy skin, resulting in dryness. When moisture loss occurs, irritants or other substances penetrate more easily into the skin. They then stimulate the immune system, which overreacts. This triggers clinical signs of eczema to appear: itchiness, inflammation, and redness. There is increasing research that the skin surface bacteria – collectively known as the skin microbiome – may play a role in the pathology of certain skin conditions, including what causes eczema. A disruption in the natural harmony of skin microbiome is often associated with the symptoms of atopic skin. Certain topical skincare products, particularly those containing “prebiotic” ingredients, may help to promote a balanced skin microbiome. 

Certain external factors can also trigger eczema. The most common are:


Irritating products:

  • Fragrances, soaps, laundry detergents
  • Home cleaning products
  • Irritating clothing: wool, synthetic fabrics, etc.

Environmental factors:

  • Dust, dust mites and pollens, which are naturally present in the air
  • Tobacco and pollution
  • Changes in temperature
  • Heat and sweat
  • Very dry air

Lifestyle factors:

  • Pets
  • Emotional stress
  • Food allergies
  • Teething
  • Changes in hormone levels

It is important to note that eczema is a highly individual condition. It affects everyone differently; what causes your eczema or triggers might be something completely different then someone else’s eczema.


What are the symptoms of eczema? 

The most common eczema symptoms include:

  • Dry, sensitive skin
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Dark colored patches
  • Itchy rash - difficult to detect in infants, but sleeping disorders are an indication
  • Rough, scaly and thickened skin
  • Oozing eczema patches
  • Scabs form on the patches

Eczema symptoms can appear on the face, body, or both as a child or adult. Facial eczema is most common type of eczema in babies and children. As children get older, eczema may manifest mainly on the neck and in the skin folds around the elbows, wrist, and behind the knees. The good news is that eczema symptoms subsides in 40-80% of children before they reach the age of 5. However, even if you did not experience eczema as a child, you may still develop it as an adult.

It is highly encouraged to visit a dermatologist as soon as signs of eczema start to appear. You can also visit your pharmacist for information of how to treat early signs of eczema.

Can sleep affect your immune system?
Can sleep affect your immune system?

If you have ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how a lack of sleep can leave you feeling the next day. We all experience a bad night’s sleep every now and again. But if you are regularly not getting enough, it could do more than leave you feeling grumpy and in desperate need of coffee the next morning. Ever notice that you are prone to sniffling and sneezing when you do not get enough sleep? Turns out it is not in your head. Sleep and a healthy immune system go hand in hand and a lack of good-quality shut-eye can affect our health in many ways.


What is the immune system?

The immune system is an army of different cells, tissues, and organs that all work together to protect the body against disease and infection. It works by recognising the difference between your own body cells and foreign cells, destroying anything in your body that could be harmful and make you sick.


What happens to the body when we sleep?

We spend around a third of our lives asleep. Although you might not be ticking things off your to-do list whilst you are dreaming away, your body is still working. Even after you have clocked off for the day, it works hard to get important jobs done to keep you performing at your best while you are awake. Your brain sorts and processes everything you have learnt and experienced that day to form new memories. The pituitary gland in the brain releases growth hormones, which help the body to grow and repair itself. The immune system releases cytokines which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation and infection. Pretty incredible right? Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to work at its best.


Will a lack of sleep affect my health?

The odd bad night's sleep may make you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it will not harm your long-term health. However, regular sleepless nights can. A lack of good quality sleep can put you at risk of serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and can even shorten your life expectancy. Studies have shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep every night tend to gain more weight and are at a greater risk of obesity compared to those who get at least seven hours of slumber. The immune system is also affected if you skimp on the shut-eye, as less of the useful cytokine proteins are produced if you’re not sleeping well. To add to the list, it is not just your physical health that is impacted by poor sleep. It can also affect your mental health, increasing the risk of developing long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

Most of us need around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. If you wake up tired and spend the daydreaming about taking a nap, you're probably not getting enough sleep. Sound familiar? The only way to compensate is by getting more sleep. We know sometimes this is way easier said than done, so to hit the hay happy we have lots of slumber secrets and saviours to help you drift off. If you are having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or you’re not feeling rested when you wake up, chat to your GP.


Is there anything else I can do to keep my immune system healthy?

When your immune system is on top form, you probably forget about it working away around the clock to protect you. But to help keep yourself fighting fit, as well as nailing your sleep routine, there are other things you can do to help take care of your immune system.

  • Wash your hands

Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from catching and spreading germs.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Create a rainbow on your plate to help keep your immune system healthy. The more colour on your plate from fruit and vegetables, the more variety of important vitamins and minerals you are likely to get.

  • Exercise regularly

Regular exercise has so many health benefits, including supporting a healthy immune system. Walking, cycling, yoga or dance classes, do whatever works for you.

  • Reduce everyday stress

Stress is annoyingly something we all have to deal with sometimes. What is important is finding ways to manage your everyday stress to keep you healthy and happy.