Your immune system is critical to your body developing antibodies to fight off viruses, infections, and harmful bacteria. Typically, your immune system weakens as you age. The cells that fight off antibodies take longer to decode unknown antigens in the body and develop antibodies to combat the antigens. However, there are certain lifestyle habits and changes you can adapt to ensure your immune system stays strong as you age. Here’s how to strengthen your immune system.

You would be surprised to learn how much sleep and your immune system are connected. The less sleep you have, the higher chance you have of falling ill. The general guideline for sleep is about 6 or more hours per night. A study that examined 164 adults showed individuals that slept less than 6 hours were at a higher risk of catching common illnesses such as the cold than those who got sufficient or more sleep. The reasoning behind this is your immune system is recovering from the daily functions it produces while you’re awake, so the more rest you have, the more recovery your immune system has. Some general sleep tips are to enable blue light filters on screens such as laptops and smartphones, sleep in a cold, dark room, and developing a routine to sleep and wake up at the same time each night.

Decrease stress:
Stress wreaks havoc on all functions on the body, but none more than your immune system. Stress produces inflammation inside your body, in addition to imbalances in immune cell function. Over time, the inflammation can grow and cause internal damage to vital bodily functions. Some easy ways to alleviate stress are exercise, journaling, a walk exploring nature, and more.

Hydration is key:
While hydration does not have a direct impact on your immune system, a lack of hydration has an overall negative impact on your body. The immune system functions properly when it is hydrated properly, as cells within the immune system require water to function properly. A lack of water can lead to a lack of focus, digestion issues, heart and kidney issues, and a decline in physical performance. All of these side effects lead to a higher chance of falling ill.