That's right it's the holiday time of year, but it's also the cold and flu time of year. This time of year it is imperative to support your immune system by getting proper nutrition and extra sleep. It becomes easy to keep making exceptions to the food allowance, to have fewer vegetables and more comfort foods. People tell you not to worry about what you eat, they justify overindulgence and sugar overload and it can become very tempting to throw caution to the wind, but if we do that we compromise our immune systems. We need to be cognizant of the importance of continuing to make our main focus eating seasonal, local vegetables and properly prepared grains; the other items become less tempting. Nature provides the foods we need at just the right time. Focus on local winter squashes, leeks, root and cruciferous vegetables. These provide the natural vitamins and minerals necessary to boost our immune system. Remember the more healthfully we eat the better armed our body is to fight off infections, colds, flu and other bugs that seem to run rampant at this time of year. Another important element to boosting the immune system is getting enough sleep. As humans we have been told we don't hibernate. While that is true in the sense that we don't sleep for months at a time, the truth of the matter is that humans require more sleep during the winter. In the time before we had all the artificial lighting when the sun went down people went to bed. Also, they got up with the sun, they didn't have alarm clocks, nature was their alarm clock. This becomes important at this time of year because your body can only heal and repair itself while you sleep. That's why we sleep so much when we get sick. However, if we acknowledge the need for more sleep and give ourselves the extra sleep needed, we become healthier and our immune system is supported and we have fewer illnesses. Unfortunately this natural immune system support is usually missed or more likely dismissed as nonsense. Another good reason to get more sleep is the additional stress we take on during this time of year. We're trying to do so much in so little time--work, year end, quarter end, shopping, decorating, budgeting, Christmas, New Year's Eve, family, friends, festivities, kids, kid's concerts and plays, etc. A very wise doctor of mine once told me our bodies actually process stress between the 5th and 6th hours of sleep. I've never forgotten that. He told me that because I was having a hard time processing stress. I was taking care of a baby and going to college and taking care of 2 other children and a house and a husband. I was just never able to feel like I was able to handle it all. When the wise doctor started talking to me he quickly realized I never got more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. Because of this I wasn't able to process stress, this affected everything in my body and, yes, my immune system. Once my ex-husband stepped up to help me out and I could get hours of sleep at a time I improved almost immediately. I stopped getting sick and I was able to handle my stress better. Taking time to recognize what your body needs is one of the best ways to care for your body. If you would like to hear more and have support and instruction to help you with this, please sign up for a free health consultation. I would love to help you get back in touch with your body's needs.