Yoga for sleep: 7 ways yoga can help you get your eight hours

Yoga for sleep: 7 ways yoga can help you get your eight hours


Suffering with insomnia? It might be time to pick up the yoga mat…

yoga for sleep

Most of us are well versed in the benefits of yoga – but did you know yoga for sleep in particular is seriously effective?

Below Lisa Sanfilippo, London’s leading yoga for sleep expert, reveals seven tips to help improve your quality of sleep and deal with insomnia.

Take a breath break

At least three times a day, or more, take a break and focus on conscious breathing.

During the day: Breathe into the back of your middle ribcage – around the bra-line – to feel more energised. This bigger breath makes you feel more awake and alert. To create a balanced steady feeling, take an inhalation and exhalation of the same length, without straining to do so.

Before bed: Take a Buddha belly breath – which is the opposite of a ‘bikini belly breath’. As you inhale, relax your low belly and allow it to puff out gently between the pubic bone and your navel. As you breathe in into the deep low belly, this stretches the area and a gently lengthened exhale here creates a very settled and relaxed feeling. Making the exhalation longer than the exhale, say a count of four to the inhale of a count of three, or extending to a count of six on exhale for a count of three inhale really taps into the rest-and-digest function of your nervous system.

Embrace the 3pm slump

yoga for sleep

We all have a natural dip mid-afternoon; this is when you’re probably hitting coffee, sweets or the gym. Instead, let your nervous system power down with a brief bit of meditation or a restorative yoga posture. You’ll draw upon less reserve energy for the rest of the day and be less frazzled and wired when sleep time comes – better primed for a restful night.

a. Practice child’s pose over a cushion. From an all-fours position, bring your big toes together and keep your knees wide. Stretch your hips back and rest your belly and head on a bolster, or a cushion from the arm of a sofa can work brilliantly. If no pillows are to be found just rest your head on the floor!

b. A great meditation technique is to focus on the breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils – noticing the temperature, texture and moisture in the air, without trying to control your breath. When your mind wanders, be gentle with yourself and guide it back to this small area. Your focus narrows to this small space and your mind calms easily and gracefully. It’s like pressing a mental ‘reset’ button.

Salute the sun

Sun salutes stretch the major muscle groups of the body well and get your breath moving freely – making you feel more alert. With this bite-sized bit of light and uplifting exercise in the morning, you’ll start the day having synchronised your movements with your breath, clearing your mind, boosting your mental focus and sense of physical wellbeing. You’ll no longer start the day stressed and behind time and instead be bright-eyed and ready to greet the day.

Make mini meditation moments

Shut your eyes and focus on releasing the places where tension accrues in your body. Do this several times a day. With eyes closed, mentally scan your body and feel any place that you hold tension. Imagine that you’re breathing light into this area as you inhale, and the area that’s tense dims and softens as you exhale. That way when it’s sleep time, there will be less accumulated tension to slough off before being ready to drop into sleep.

yoga for sleep

Press the reset button with a leg up

Book a meeting room at work and get your legs up the wall. Breathe and let your body get heavy into the floor for ten minutes. You’ll start taking conscious even deep breaths inhaling and exhaling for a count of four, but after about 10 breaths let your breath be natural; it will become shallower as you relax. It takes at least three minutes of being settled for the ‘relaxation response’ to kick in, and 10 minutes usually creates a feeling of relaxation and readiness for the rest of the day.

yoga for sleep

Before bed

1. Slip into mood lighting: Your body is naturally programmed to produce melatonin, the brain chemical that induces sleep, when it gets dark outside. Bright lights late at night, like at the gym or a well-lit living room can keep you awake. Start turning down the lights two hours before bed, and switch to low, warm light- candlelight is very soothing. The organic red light of a candle, instead of the blue-tinged light of your phone or tablet, will calm the tired mind and send the sleep message.

2. Treat your feet: Take your shoes off several times a day, to create a grounded and relaxing sensation. Wash your feet at night before bed, whether in the shower or just popping a foot up into the sink. After warming the feet up, it’s prime time for a little self-foot massage or some reflexology points with soothing raw sesame oil. Add a hint of vetiver or rose essential oil to sink further into a relaxed state.

3. Rest your head: Pressing the acupressure point at the ‘third eye’ just between the eyebrows and gently pulling downward towards your nose will calm the muscles of the forehead, sending a ‘calm down’ message to the brain. This is the opposite of raising your eyebrows (which is stimulating and activating to the nervous system). Combine this with slow lengthened exhalations and you will feel the difference immediately, and your face will emerge looking calmer and more easeful.

Yoga for sleep: The best poses

1. Back to Earth

Reel out a calming sequence of yoga poses that begins with some hip rolls on all fours, continue by stretching your hamstrings then move on to release tension in your hips, breathing into the low belly and feeling your body drop on to the floor as you breathe out.

yoga for sleep

2. Forward bend

Take this inversion pose that places gentle pressure at the crown of your head or at the third eye point – the place we can scrunch up the forehead when we’re stressed. Take a wide stance, with your feet as wide apart as your arms when you stretch them out to the sides. Now bow forward at the waist – you can put your bottom against the wall if you need support.

yoga for sleep

Put your hands on the floor and bending forward press your forehead, or crown of the head, to the seat of a chair or if you’re bendy and have a yoga block press the head gently to the block on the floor. This calms your brain instantly. A gentle forward bend with your legs astride chair legs and head on the chair will stretch the long muscles along the spine and take the tension out of having to hold your body up all day long.

Taking time to care for yourself all day is the key to relaxing better at night and dropping off into a state of sweet slumber. Consider your crash course in yoga for sleep, complete.

The post Yoga for sleep: 7 ways yoga can help you get your eight hours appeared first on Marie Claire.

The best spas in London – because sometimes you want to get away from the world (and the people in it)

The best spas in London – because sometimes you want to get away from the world (and the people in it)


For a spot of respite in the busy city

best spas in london

Whether you’re a visitor to the city or a resident in need of some time out from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan madness, the best spas in London offer the perfect moment of respite.

From tension releasing massages and decongesting facials, to soothing watsu pools and detoxing steam rooms, there is nothing better than a pamper to ease the mind and soul.

Luckily the city has some spectacular options, here is our guide to the best spas in London…

Best spas in London: Akasha

best spas in london akasha

 

Why is it so amazing? After a rubbish night’s sleep and a hellish commute into London, it’s safe to say that my stress levels were above average before checking myself into Akasha. Thankfully, the spa itself is the polar opposite of the streets outside – calm, clean and quiet. As you descend the steps down into the spa, you instantly feel more at peace. The first thing you spot is the incredible pool, which sits at its centre that has alcoves coming off it that house the Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. But it’s also the netural-toned marble that seems to soothe the soul too. *Side note: you don’t actually have to be on the brink of a hissy fit to enjoy this cavernous spa. You could walk in happy as Larry and still come away the most relaxed you’ve ever been.* It’s got everything you need without being so overwhelmingly big that you don’t get lost and the minimalist decor doesn’t distract you from the sole purpose of being there – relaxation.

Standout treatment? Aromatherapy Associates offers a range of treatments to tackle lifestyle concerns like stress or lack of energy; I opted for the ‘We Relax’ Wellbeing Treatment as I felt I needed help in that department. The majority of the treatment involves a massage at whatever level of pressure you prefer, combined with AA’s Light or Deep Relax oil blend and, thankfully, I left feeling like I was walking on air. Five stars. £150 for 60 minutes

Where is it? Underneath Piccadilly Circus in the Hotel Café Royal, 50 Regent Street, W1. Who knew?!

Best spas in London: The House of Elemis

best spas in london elemis

Why is it so amazing? What looks to be a tiny little beauty shop, is in fact a three-story wonder emporium. On the ground floor, you can get your hands on all of Elemis’ brilliant products, whilst the first floor and basement is where you experience world-class facials and massages that soothe even the tensest people.

Standout treatment? Elemis’ Biotec facials are out of this world as they are bespoke to you and your skin’s needs. It comines ground-breaking technology and active ingredients to wake your skin up and bring energy back to your cells. Their Biotec Skin Resurfacer leaves skin smoother and softer. Is there any better feeling? No, is the answer. From £125 for 1hr.

Where is it? Walk down a warren of cobbled streets in the depths of Mayfair, and you’ll find the House of Elemis. 2 Lancashire Ct, Mayfair, London W1

Best spas in London: The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

best spas in london Four seasons

Why is it so amazing? While the Four Seasons treatments are dreamy, the unique selling point is the spa itself, with everything from the cosy slippers and grapefruit water to the aesthetic, which renders the spa-visitor ultimate relaxed. The oriental rooms are flooded with natural light, and whether you’re unwinding in the Sky Suite, thermal rooms or bathing in the vitality pool, it’s easy to forget the millennial stresses outside. Did I mention that there is a Hammam suite?! Now that’s pure luxury – and an excellent Instagram opportunity. You will definitely leave with your chakras rebalanced.

Standout treatment? The Hyde Park Awakening and the Four Hands at Four Seasons are probably the spa’s signature treatments, but if (like me) you’re looking to properly de-stress, I’d recommend the hot stone massage. I had never had one before and a Four Seasons offering seemed like a great start, with the treatment offering a bespoke service, depending on pressure, oils and target areas. The hot stones (basalt) are incorporated into the deep massage strokes, relieving aches and pains, releasing tension and alleviating anxiety. If you suffer from insomnia or anxiety, this is the treatment for you. At the end of the treatment – I had to be woken up because I was that relaxed. You’re then taken to a fancy pod (decked out with YuYu hot water bottles, jewelled cushions and headphones) to unwind with a pot of herbal tea and a bowl of almonds. I might have fallen asleep again. From £165, for 60 mins.

Where is it? Perfectly placed, just off Hyde Park Corner and a short walk from the hustle and bustle of the city. The spa is located on the rooftop with the floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic city views of the scenes below from your own relaxing haven. Hamilton Pl, Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1

Best spas in London: Espa Life

best spas in london espa corinthia

Why is it so amazing: There’s literally nothing about this spa that isn’t amazing. Oh Corinthia, how I do love thee. This place has everything you could possibly want and then some. Usually we think of spas as being light and airy, but the dark marble interiors and lack of daylight at this particular ESPA Life outpost really help you to close the door on the outside world and switch off. The treatment rooms, or ‘pods’ are spread out off one of the sprawling corridors and at times you feel like you have the whole spa to yourself. But the real jewel in the crown here is the thermal floor. Oh. My. There’s the usual must-have pool, steam room, plus the additional massage jets, heated loungers and ice fountain to cool you down. Plus, the separate women-only sauna and steam room in the changing rooms, and hair, nail and gym facilities to boot. And that’s before I’ve even mentioned the sauna, which is a glass box in the middle of the spa and honestly, a thing of beauty. Every little detail has been thought of and perfectly placed, to the point that I didn’t feel I needed to ‘look’ for anything (I’ve never seen such well-equipped changing rooms). It really is the perfect spa and, naturally, I’ve spent every day since my visit wanting to go back.
Standout treatment: Any of the ESPA facials, they’re all some of the best facials in London. You could pick one at random and you skin will love you for it. They are divine. From £140.
Where is it? In the unbelievably beautiful Corinthia London Hotel. You might not need a room to book in to the spa, but you’ll wish you had. Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1

Best spas in London: Ushvani

best spas in london ushvani

Why is it so amazing? This spa is understated luxury at its best, a little oasis of calm in the centre of London. Its ethos is the Malaysian Ushvani philosophy, guided by the principles of nurture, total well-being, relaxation and healthy indulgence. Inside, it translates into dark wood panelling, soft lighting, contemporary mandi baths and a lingering aroma of ginger, nutmeg and pandan leaves. Do make sure you arrive well before your treatment so you can make use of the facilities, because trust me you won’t want to wash away the oils in the hot water.

Standout treatment? If it’s your first time at the spa, then I recommend you try the house’s signature Malay massage, which starts, as all excellent massages do, with a consultation so you can truly have a bespoke experience. This is a bit of a different massage as it is a more gentle Asian approach then you might be used to, using long kneading strokes and soothing stretches rather than a more intense technique. But slow and steady wins the race, and you leave feeling deeply relied and de-stressed. At the end of the 90-minute treatment, I was taken to the spa’s special tea room to detox with comforting tea and nibble on candied ginger. 90 mins – £180 | 120 mins – £240

Where is it? Hidden away behind an oak door in the heart of Chelsea, it is a haven that guarantees the privacy of its prestigious clientele. 1 Cadogan Gardens, Chelsea, London SW3

Best spas in London: Bulgari Spa

best spas in london bulgari

Why is it so amazing? The walls of the Bulgari Spa are paved with gold. Have we caught your attention? OK they’re not technically paved with gold, most likely painted with gold leaf, but still. If you haven’t got a holiday booked anytime soon, then I really must insist you get yourself a day pass to the Bulgari Spa instead. You can spend the whole day reclined on a chic daybed surrounded by white drapes, next to a swimming pool, reading your latest issue of Marie Claire, with the occasional visit to the steam room or dip into Watsu pool. You can while away hours here and really take the time to yourself.

Standout treatment? There are so many treatments on offer, by so many different brands that I honestly don’t think I can pick one. You could opt for a 111Skin cryotherapy energy facial – essentially a ice facial; a Jax Coco compress massage that utilieses the soothing and hydrating properties of coconut oil; an Ayurvedic-inspired Mauli signature surrender ritual; or how about a 24K gold rejuvenating facial? I mean the options are ENDLESS.

Where is it? For a spa this opulent, it can only be in once place: Knightsbridge. A stone’s throw away from Harrods on 171 Knightsbridge, London SW7

Best spas in London: Bamford Haybarn

best spas in london bamford

 

Why is it so amazing? Bamford Haybarn’s newest outpost at Brompton Cross is so calming, when you walk through the door it’s like your problems and stresses are checked in with your coat. Perhaps it’s the soothing colour palette – all white, beige and more white? Or the tinkling fountain that sits slap bang in the middle of the shop? Or maybe it’s the treatments or yoga classes that are offered at the back of the boutique? What ever it is, it’s working. I honestly challenge you to walk in and not have the following thoughts: ‘Gosh, I really need every single item in this boutique.’ and ‘Do you know, I think it’s time to redecorate and I’m going to forage for decor. It’ll look marvellous.’

Standout treatment? Their bSilent Body Treatment is utterly fantastic. They should rename is it bSleep Body Treatment, for you are so silent and calm that you quite literally drop off within minutes. They target pressure points all over to relieve stress and tension and after the 60 minutes you’ll feel like a new person. You’ll be so dazed, you’ll most likely drop a couple of hundred pounds in the boutique upstairs. £90 for 60 mins.

Where is it? In South Kensington surrounded by equally enticing boutiques. Brompton Cross, 104 Draycott Ave, Chelsea, London SW3

Best spas in London: Cloud Twelve

best spas in london

 

Why is it so amazing? Cloud Twelve is a destination. It opened earlier this year as a lifestyle member’s club that definitely appeals to it’s West London neighbours. There are insane children’s facilities (I don’t have a child, nor am I one anymore, but I could totally appreciate that ball pit) on the ground floor for the yummy mummies and daddies, the brasserie on the first floor has a plant-based vegan menu and their hair and nail salon looks like the front room of a house on Portobello Road. However you really musn’t ignore its pièce de résistance: the wellness and beauty destination. On the first floor, tucked in a corner (you’d honestly miss it if you weren’t directed there) is the spa with six therapy rooms, a thermal suite including steam, sauna and salt room and quartz treatment beds from the Dolomites. On the top floor is where more magic takes place, this is where some of the city’s best wellness practitioners come and do weekly clinics – from acupuncture and reflexology to IV infusions and colonic irrigation.

Standout treatment? Any of their massages. The therapist who pummeled my back (in a good way) was so knowledgeable and talked me through everything that she was doing. She then chatted to me once it was all over about aftercare and other treatments that my knotty back might benefit from. From £140.

Where is it? Tucked down an old mews in Notting Hill at 2 – 5 Colville Mews, London W11.

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What is Christmas tree syndrome and is it making us all ill?

What is Christmas tree syndrome and is it making us all ill?


Here’s everything you need to know…

christmas tree syndrome

Autumn is gone, the cold weather is upon us and work colleagues and fellow commuters are starting to cough, sneeze and splutter around us – inevitably we’re all about to get ill.

But aside from the usual cold that plagues us all every December, there’s another condition to be wary of – Christmas tree syndrome – an illness you could actually be catching from your festive fir tree.

Yes – we’re gutted too.

If you were speculating that your Christmas tree might be making you sneeze, you could be on to something. Here’s everything you need to know about Christmas tree syndrome…

What is Christmas tree syndrome?

Christmas tree syndrome is a seasonal illness which as its name suggests is caused by your Christmas tree (and in some cases your Christmas wreaths too)! The allergic condition is caused by the presence of a Christmas tree in an inclosed indoor space, bringing with it mould that thrives and grows in warm environments (your sitting room/ bedroom), going on to cause respiratory allergies. The fact that Christmas trees stay in most houses for the best part of a month only heightens symptoms and increases your chances of catching the dreaded Christmas tree syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Christmas tree syndrome?

Many have compared the symptoms of Christmas tree syndrome to that of hay fever, with the most common complaints including coughing, wheezing, chest pains, lethargy, itchy noses and watery eyes. It can also apparently affect your sleep with some sufferers reporting insomnia as a result of their festive fir.

Is Christmas tree syndrome dangerous?

While in most cases, the condition has only minor side-effects and symptoms, it can apparently worsen respiratory problems for asthmatics and in some extreme cases lead to pneumonia which can be life-threatening.

How common is Christmas tree syndrome?

As its name would suggest, Christmas tree syndrome only affects people once a year, but (provided it’s Christmas) it is fairly common, with the illness said to affect over a third of us.

How can I combat Christmas tree syndrome?

The condition only occurs when you have a real tree, so an easy way of combatting the problem is opting for a plastic tree instead. If however you can’t be without a festive fir, there are a few tricks for lessening the symptoms – hosing down your tree before erecting it, putting up the tree as late as possible to avoid prolonged symptoms and avoiding close contact with the tree (i.e. getting your other half to decorate it instead).

The post What is Christmas tree syndrome and is it making us all ill? appeared first on Marie Claire.

Science says women should stay in bed but men shouldn’t, and okay

Science says women should stay in bed but men shouldn’t, and okay


Amen.

Sleep disorders
Credit: REX

Hands up if you and your OH bicker about who needs to let the dog out at 6am/ which of you needs to get up and make breakfast for the kids/ who should answer the door to whoever is relentlessly knocking while you’re regretting all those Saturday night espresso martinis? The last thing you want to do is roll out from under the covers when you’re tired, hungover, or have plans to enjoy a very lazy Sunday.

And don’t even get us started on how hard the early mornings can be when you’re stressed out about all the Christmas shopping you haven’t done and aren’t able to sleep all night.

But we’ve got good news – for women, at least.

According to new research, there are health benefits to women staying in bed longer – but it doesn’t quite work that way for men.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that when women indulged in a bit of a post-alarm sleep, it could potentially reduce their risk of diabetes. However, when men decided to stay in bed for an extra five mins it has the opposite effect, instead increasing their risk of the disease.

sleep disorders

Scientists discovered the link between amount of sleep, gender and insulin levels during the experiment which involved 800 individuals.

Dr Femke Rutters from the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam explained to the Mail Online: ‘In a group of nearly 800 healthy people, we observed sex-specific relationships between sleep duration and glucose metabolism.

‘In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future.

‘In women, no such association was observed. This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health.’

Brb, snoozing.

The post Science says women should stay in bed but men shouldn’t, and okay appeared first on Marie Claire.

Men can now pay to experience the pain of childbirth

Men can now pay to experience the pain of childbirth


Gift your OH something truly special this Christmas

men experience child birth
Credit: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

No matter how many episodes of One Born Every Minute you watch, many women will tell you that it’s near impossible to explain what childbirth actually feels like.

And for any woman who wants their baby daddy to really understand the pains of labour, we think we’ve found the perfect gift.

Soon-to-be fathers can now pay to experience exactly (or near enough) what it will feel like for their partner when the time comes for them to give birth.

Ultrasound Baby Face is a company delivering contractions to men who wish to understand what their other half will be going through. They offer a ’30 minute labour experience’ and will be asked to wear a 27lb weighted bump while undergoing ‘a range of everyday household activities that a heavily pregnant woman may struggle with on the run up to labour.’

Then, they’ll be strapped up to a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation machine and experience a series of electric shocks for around seven minutes.

Ahem, seven minutes is hardly equivalent seventeen hours of pain and pushing, but at least they’ll get some idea of what it’s really like.

The website states: ‘This experience has been created in jest; we completely appreciate that we cannot fully replicate the experience of pregnancy and labour in a 30 minute timescale; however we hope that all participants leave with a higher level of empathy and a better understanding of what mothers go through.’

A spokesperson for the company said: ‘It’s a chance for the man to show to his partner that he is there for them and to help them experience a little bit of what they’re partner is going through.

‘It will hopefully be a bit of a giggle for the woman as well. Something to make her feel a bit better about everything she has ahead.’

The whole thing costs just £25 and is available at the company’s clinic in Bristol.

Sounds like the perfect early birthday present…

The post Men can now pay to experience the pain of childbirth appeared first on Marie Claire.

Ada Hegerberg just won the Ballon D’Or – and then was asked this…

Ada Hegerberg just won the Ballon D’Or – and then was asked this…


Seriously?

Ada Hegerberg

The last couple of years have been super exciting for women’s football. From Steph Houghton’s leadership of the Lionesses, to Eniola Aluko’s superb punditry at the World Cup, to the establishment of inaugural Women’s Ballon D’Or Award.

However, these successes are often marred: whether by mansplaining, or even more drastically, in the case of reporters at the World Cup in Russia, assault.

So it’s unfortunately no surprise that Lyon and Norway player Ada Hegerberg winning football’s most prestigious award yesterday was somewhat overshadowed by sexism.

The controversy comes from the fact that on accepting the award, DJ and presenter Martin Solveig told Hegerberg that he had prepared a celebration for her, similar to the one he had for Kylian Mbappé (a fellow award winner). So far, so fine.

Solveig then followed up by asking Hegerberg if she knew ‘how to twerk’.

Of course, the sporting community and the internet in general were outraged at the blatant sexism on show.

Were fellow winners Kylian Mbappé and Luca Modric asked this? Let’s go to Andy Murray for the answer to that.

Of course Solveig was quick to respond to the controversy with disbelief, ‘Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended. My point was: I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women’

Following it up with this totally sincere apology for the ‘buzz’ caused.

Whatever.

Let’s talk about Ada Hegerberg, who afterwards said about Solveig, ‘He came to me afterwards and was really sad that it went that way. I didn’t really think about it at the time… I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d’Or to be honest.’

Hegerberg, who at the age of fifteen was playing with Norway’s U19 squad, has won the treble with Lyon, and was BBC Player of the Year for 2016/7, is a footballing legend. Already sixth in the all-time UEFA Women’s Champions League scorers’ list at the age of 23, her career is going from strength to strength.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for her. Congratulations, Ada!

The post Ada Hegerberg just won the Ballon D’Or – and then was asked this… appeared first on Marie Claire.



How to get your daily dose of Vitamin D (and why you really need it)

How to get your daily dose of Vitamin D (and why you really need it)


Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for good health, which is great if you live in St Lucia. But how can you get your daily dose if you don’t?

vitamin d foods
Everything you need to know about Vitamin D foods

Yes, you know Vitamin D is good for you. But do you know just how good the benefits of Vitamin D foods can be for you?

Recent studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk in breast cancer among Asian women. Researchers think the vitamin D is linked to regulating cell growth and, although the findings aren’t conclusive and more studies are needed, there’s a wealth of evidence to show the incredible benefits of getting your daily dose of Vitamin D.

We’ve spoken to some of the country’s top nutritionists to get the lowdown on how we can overcome the UK’s serious lack of sunshine with the best vitamin D supplements. From the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency to working out what supplement is best for you, here’s everything you need to know about vitamin D.

Why is vitamin D so important?

Vitamin D is known for its essential role in bone health and the way it helps the body absorb calcium, but new research shows this could be just the start of its benefits. ‘Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins because it has an abundance of uses,’ says in-house nutritionist for health and fitness app lifesum, Lovisa Nilsson. ‘Particularly because it also enhances the body’s absorption of other vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphate.’

We still need to learn more about the wide-reaching benefits of Vitamin D, but recent research suggests that Vitamin D can help with a range of health problems. ‘We need more robust data,’ says Mel Wakeman, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition & Applied Physiology at Birmingham City University. ‘But Vitamin D may also have roles in preventing health problems such as cancers, heart disease, diabetes and viral infections.’

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

Sunshine is the main source of vitamin D, though make sure you use the best sun protection when you are soaking in those rare rays. But what about during the winter months in the UK? When 90 per cent of the population aren’t getting enough exposure to the right amount of UVB? ‘Spending 20-30 minutes between 11am and 3pm in the sun each day from April to September should enable us to make enough vitamin D to meet our requirements,’ says Mel Wakeman. ‘But for the rest of the year we have a much heavier reliance on dietary sources.’

You probably won’t be able to tell if you have a vitamin D deficiency, but according to world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad, general symptoms can include ‘fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, weight gain, poor concentration, restless sleep, and headaches.’ If you’re worried, your GP can do a blood test to check your levels.

How a Vitamin D deficiency affects your skin

Doctor Clare Morrison of MedExpress reveals the 5 skin signs that you might be in need of some Vitamin D.

Dull complexion

‘Much like all organs, skin needs vital vitamins to function properly, and vitamin D is one of them. Vitamin D is primarily synthesised in skin which is exposed to UV light, if not achieved by diet or supplements. A dull complexion can be a sign of a lack of Vitamin D. Your complexion may appear slightly grey, your skin not as plump or supple as usual, and you may also have darker under eye circles, this is because the skin needs Vitamin D for the skin cells to regenerate properly and remain healthy.’

Breakouts

‘Vitamin D can reduce inflammation on your skin, which therefore means fighting against ski condition such as acne and rosacea. Due to its action on your blood insulin response, your acne breakouts could be vastly improved too, this lowering of inflammation will also help with your general
skin health too.’

Fine lines

‘Vitamin D acts as an antioxidant, meaning that its able to help against fine lines and wrinkles. This vitamin helps your body to fight off free-radicals which are thought to cause lines on our skin and the general deterioration that comes with age. A lack of vital vitamin D sources could mean our wrinkles become appear much deeper and more visible, a lack of vitamin D may also may mean that we develop
new wrinkles at a much quicker rate.’

Dry skin

‘One tell-tale skin sign of a vitamin D deficiency is dry, itchy skin on the face, which may occur all over or on areas such as cheeks, chin and forehead. In some severe cases, those with a deficiency may also develop eczema, this is thought to be caused by an immune system dysfunction. Studies have shown that vitamin D can be effective in its treatment whether the vitamin comes from direct sunlight, supplement or a topical skin application.’

Sweating

‘A deficiency in vitamin D can cause your skin to sweat and is considered to be one of the first signs of a problem. You will sweat all over your body, including your face which can cause your skin to become dry and irritated, as well as increasing your chances of breakouts – so upping your vitamin D could help.’

Can Vitamin D boost fertility?

Sunlight can boost fertility, according to new research that claims vitamin D can balance sex hormones in women and improve sperm count in men. The findings suggest some couples could be undergoing unnecessary and costly fertility treatments when spending time in the sunshine could be more beneficial.

‘People could either spend more time outside in the sun – or take vitamin D supplements, which are a safe and cheap way to increase levels,’ says lead author Dr Elisabeth Lerchbaum.

The researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that women ovulate less and their eggs have a reduced chance of implanting in the womb in the winter months. ‘The vast majority of people in this country – around 86 per cent – are getting less than the optimum levels,’ says Oliver Gillie, director of the Health Research Forum.

Leading fertility expert, Zita West, agrees. ‘Vitamin D is becoming increasingly important for fertility,’ she says. ‘Having done over 800 vitamin D tests, we have found that around 70 per cen of our clients are deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to obesity, poly cystic ovaries and immune disorders.’

Mr Gullie advises couples trying to get pregant arrange a sunshine holiday or spend time in the garden this summer before going down the expensive route of IVF.

Does Vitamin D effect the pill?

Speaking about fertility, a recent study has found that being on the contraceptive pill can increase your levels of vitamin D. This is especially good news for women in the UK where, according to Public Health England, one in five British adults are not getting enough vitamin D due to the lack of bright sunshine here.

However, taking hormonal contraceptives may actually increase your vitamin D levels by up to 20%. That may not be as much as the 50-70% increase that a supplement will give you, but it’s still a bonus if it’s raining outside then.

However, this information is particularly important if you’re looking to conceive. If a woman already has low vitamin D levels, coming off the pill may cause a potentially harmful drop to an even lower level. Vitamin D is important for both you and your baby, as it’s needed for foetal skeletal growth so check with your doctor whether you need to take extra supplements and it’s worth considering upping your intake of the below Vitamin D foods, as well.

10 Vitamin D foods

1. Salmon

Vitamin D foods salmon

Salmon is the best vitamin D food out there (wild salmon has more than farmed salmon, FYI). Just half a fillet of salmon has more than the daily recommended allowance for one person.

2. Milk

vitamin d foods milk

Most types of cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. You can also buy yoghurt and other dairy products that have been fortified (usually whole milk not semi-skimmed).

3. Eggs

vitamin d foods eggs

Two large free-range eggs can hold about one-eighth of your recommended dose of vitamin D.

4. Mushrooms

vitamin d foods mushrooms

If you include a large handful of mushrooms to your meal you are looking at a significant amount of vitamin D, especially if they have been exposed to sunlight.

5.  Tuna

vitamin d foods tuna

Tinned fish, such as tuna or sardines, contain over a quarter of the recommended amount of vitamin D.

6. Pork

vitamin d foods pork

Pork ribs, in particular, are rich in vitamin D (yay!) but be careful about the fat content (damn!).

7. Cereals

vitamin d foods cereals

Similarly to milk, cereals are often fortified with Vitamin D, particularly ones aimed at children, but it does vary so check the label.

8. Tofu

vitamin d foods tofu

When we say  Vitamin D foods, tofu probably isn’t top of the list? However, one fifth of a block of raw tofu has lots of lovely Vitamin D in it. But before you go eating it by the block raw, you need to do something to the tofu (like marinade it).

9. Orange juice

Vitamin D foods orange juice

One cup of fortified orange juice has more Vitamin D than a cup of fortified milk.

10. Ricotta cheese

vitamin d foods cheese

Ricotta has more than five times the amount of Vitamin D than other cheeses. Pass us the cannelloni…

Is there such a thing as having too much vitamin D?

Consuming too much vitamin D is very rare. ‘It shouldn’t be a problem because your body only makes as much vitamin D as it needs,’ says nutrition expert Mel Wakeman. ‘Vitamin D toxicity is uncommon and usually only affects people who have been taking vitamin D supplements well above the recommended dosage for several months.’

Do vitamin D supplements work and should I be taking them?

‘Because symptoms are rare or go unnoticed, vitamin D deficiency is more common than you think,’ says Dr Murad. ‘But always check with your doctor first before you start taking a vitamin D supplement.’

Am I at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?

Mel Wakeman adds that in November 2014, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) produced guidelines which recommend certain at-risk groups take a daily vitamin D supplement. These include:

1. All pregnant and breastfeeding women are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

2. All babies and young children from 6 months to 5 yrs should take a daily supplement containing vitamin D in the form of vitamin drops. But, babies fed up to a pint of infant formula will not need vitamin drops as the formula is already fortified.

3. Breastfed infants may need to receive drops containing vitamin D from one month of age, if their mother has not taken vitamin D supplements throughout pregnancy.

4. People aged 65 years and over and people who are not exposed to much sun should also take a daily vitamin D supplement.

5. People with a darker skin tone will require a greater amount of sunlight exposure as the process of making Vitamin D takes longer so may benefit from a supplement. Here are the best skin supplements out there.

6. People who spend much of their time indoors or cover their skin.

The post How to get your daily dose of Vitamin D (and why you really need it) appeared first on Marie Claire.

10 sleep remedies to help you get those all-important eight hours

10 sleep remedies to help you get those all-important eight hours


Lack of sleep doing your head in? You need these sleep solutions

sleep remedies

Whether you’re at a nine-to-five, meeting friends for mid-week drinks or have an exciting jam-packed weekend, your body needs to be replenished across all levels – that’s where sleep remedies come in.

Let’s face it, life is really quite tiring, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep to be physically, mentally and emotionally uplifted and keep our focus and fuel for the activities to come. Insomnia is not the one.

Melia Hotels & Resorts Sleep and Wellness Ambassador, Nerina Ramlakhan, determines the cause of disrupted sleep and tiredness is because people are doing too much, constantly making the most of all opportunities which, unfortunately ‘comes at a cost, as we strive to keep up with all of these roles and responsibilities and we end up taking “slices” off our sleep.’

Here at Marie Claire, we’re no strangers to busy work schedules and late night events so below we’ve come up with some sleep remedies to solve your struggles. And when you’re done here, be sure to check out these brilliant sleep apps.

Words by Amira Arasteh

Use a sleep spray

Mauli Rituals Sleep Dharma Pillow Spray, £22, Lookfantastic

sleep remedies Maui spray

Part of the problem is putting your head down on the pillow and not being able to doze off (who else is with me on this?) Although they might not seem much of an antidote, sleep sprays are a great way of calming your senses and allowing yourself to drift off into a deep sleep. Most contain a blended scent of essential oils, with lavender, bergamot and chamomile being best known for creating a relaxing sleeping spell.

Buy now

Try a tonic

Botanic Lab Tonic 3, £.3.99, botanic-lab.co.uk

sleep remedies Botanic Lab

Most drinks designed to combat sleep deprivation are packed with adaptogens. You always hear of people drinking herbal teas before bed but if that’s not your thing, why not try Botanic Lab Tonics as part of your night-time ritual? Adaptogens help moderate stress responses, thus being useful in improving disrupted sleep. Botanic Lab’s CEO and Founder, Rebekah Hal says that: ‘Ashwagandha is known for its ability to calming before sleep’ – and Botanic Lab’s Tonic 2 is packed with the stuff.

Buy now

Invest in a sleep-assisting mattress

Eve Original Mattress, £349, evemattress.co.uk

sleep remedies eve mattress

It’s crazy how things are coming along to the point that even your mattress can be smart enough to aid your sleep. If you’re too hot at night, companies such as Eve have integrated a super breathable evecomfort® layer and a moisture-wicking top cover to cool you down in the night. The base layer of the mattress is split into seven zones to ensure you’re well supported across the body throughout your sleep.

Buy now

Adjust to the right kind of light

Whether it’s coming from your TV, outside the window or your mobile phone, light exposure as you’re sleeping negatively impacts your quality of sleep. Your brain thinks it’s time to wake up and you’ll find yourself struggling to get some shut-eye.

Cat Dal, founder of Cat Dal Interiors, says: ‘light places an important part in melatonin production and so good light can have a positive impact on your sleeping habits.’ This links to why your mobile has a night time light setting for the screen due to blue light causing the body to produce less melatonin.

Read a book/write in a journal

kikki.K Life Inspiration Journal, £16, John Lewis

sleep remedies

If you’re someone who thinks they can’t possibly go to bed early because they won’t fall asleep, let’s set something straight. ‘You don’t have to be asleep straight away but resting in bed, reading something gentle, inspiring and uplifting or keeping a gratitude journal can help you feel naturally sleepy and fall effortlessly into deep, velvety sleep,’ confirms Melia’s Nerina.

Buy now

Pillows and duvets are key

Casper Standard Pillow, £60, Amazon

sleep remedies casper pillow

You’d be forgiven for thinking a pillow is just a pillow, but a lot of sleep remedies revolve around your bedding. Casper have invented a truly unique pillow which actually holds another pillow inside – the ultimate comfort aid to ensure a satisfying sleep. The inner pillow offers support, whilst the outer pillow ensures it’s soft to the touch. If you have a stiff neck or back, this pillow’s shape will provide the necessary support for your neck and spine’s alignment.

Casper have also just launched their Merino wool and down duvet, combining cosy comfort with moisture-wicking merino wool.

Buy now

Run a relaxing bath before bed

ELEMIS Life Elixirs Calm Bath and Shower Oil, £49.50, Fabled

sleep remedies Elemis

Whilst scents like lemongrass and mint are refreshing and invigorating – great for morning showers and getting you energised for the day – your bedtime regime should be more calming. ELEMIS’ Life Elixirs range offers a bath and shower oil to relax and soothe you before sleep. It contains the scent of Rosewood, which is known for its balancing effect on one’s emotions, as well as Clary Sage and Lavandin which are great for calming daily stresses. Sleep remedies don’t get much better than this.

Buy now

Think between the sheets

Caravane Fitted Linen Sheet, from €120, caravane.co.uk

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Douceur de Selena… #selenabedlinen

A post shared by Caravane Decoration (@caravane_paris) on Nov 22, 2018 at 12:55am PST

If you’re tossing and turning in the night, it could be because of your choice of bedding. (Weird to think of that being the problem, right?) But Veronique Piedeleu, founder of luxury linen brand, Caravane, explains the importance of the right bed sheets: ‘Linen is a great all year round fabric – it naturally regulates temperature, as well as insulating, which means it is ideal for both hot and cool weather.’

Buy now

Swap out the glass of red

sleep remedies

While a quick drink after work is more often better than a hard lunch – and we all know the feeling of wanting a glass of wine at the end of the working day – alcohol before bedtime can impair your sleep. Melia’s Nerina confirms: ‘Alcohol has a dual effect; on one hand it’s a relaxant, but on the other hadn’t it is a stimulant, meaning the effect will hit you later in the night when you wake up dehydrated and unable to get back to sleep. Alcohol also prevents the breakdown of adrenaline which in turn, reduces the action of the sleep hormone melatonin.’

Meditate

sleep remedies meditation

It’s no secret that we’re all dealing with stress and anxiety from life’s pressures, but this really does affect our sleep patterns. More and more people are turning to meditation, following a holistic path to wellness and a better night’s sleep. The Re:Mind Studio in Belgravia allows people to drop in for sessions to practice this form of self-care and wellbeing.

From 30-60 minutes, all sessions are suitable for every kind of meditator, whether you’re a beginner or have had years of experience. There are classes designed to reconnect people with themselves, healing sessions, restorative practices and more.

Got a different set of sleep remedies that work for you? Let us know at @marieclaireuk

The post 10 sleep remedies to help you get those all-important eight hours appeared first on Marie Claire.



All the best fitness gifts, gear and gadgets for the gym-goer in your life


For all the runners/yogis/lifters/foodies out there

best fitness gifts
Credit: REX/Shutterstock

Are you on the hunt for the best fitness gifts? Shopping for kids is easy in comparison (thanks to our handy Christmas gift guide for kids), but if there’s someone in your life who loves nothing more than a good sweat session how do you make sure that you get them what they really want this Christmas?

There are so many gadgets, classes and active wear brands out there that it can be hard to pick out the perfect present for a gym-goer.

Maybe you’re looking for the perfect fitness gift for your other half who loves nothing more than a Sunday morning 10k, or you’re desperate to find something yoga-related for the colleague you picked out from the Secret Santa hat.

Fear not. Whether you’re completely clueless when it comes to fitness gifts, or you consider yourself a bit of a present pro, we’ve rounded up the best of the best to make sure that they get exactly what they want this year.

Runners are often heard talking about pace, splits and tapering. But don’t worry – before you start frantically Googling what it all means, take a look at some of the amazing gadgets out there that can really make a difference to their PB.

Foodies will be after all the latest kitchen gadgets, turmeric shots and cookbooks, and there are loads of options to keep them happy.

Yoga enthusiasts will know how important accessories are when it comes to getting into difficult poses (hello, yoga strap and blocks), but for the uninitiated it can be daunting. So we’ve taken out all the hard work for you and found the best mats, leggings and accessories.

Anyone who has no time for the gym will no doubt be on the hunt for the perfect at-home gadgets – and guess what? We’ve found those, too. You’re welcome.

So if you want to get in someone’s good books this Christmas, look no further than Marie Claire‘s best fitness gifts guide – the ultimate go-to, whatever your budget. It might even inspire you to book on to a festive spin class…

The post All the best fitness gifts, gear and gadgets for the gym-goer in your life appeared first on Marie Claire.

Here are the best ways to beat a cold virus if you’re feeling grim

Here are the best ways to beat a cold virus if you’re feeling grim


So you’ve got a cold – nothing you can do about it, right? From the truth about vitamin C to the power of your mood, here’s the latest science to help you get well soon

cold remedies
REX

At this time of year the common cold is, er, pretty common, and we’re all in the firing line. Most of us will have at least two colds this year – snotty ordeals that turn us into sniffling zombies clutching vials of Olbas Oil and saying things like, ‘My hair hurts.’

There are 200 different types of the common cold virus. The most prevalent ones are rhinoviruses, closely followed by coronaviruses, adenoviruses and coxsackieviruses. ‘When these viruses get into your nose, they irritate the lining, causing it to produce mucus to try to expel the bad stuff,’ says clinical scientist Professor Peter Openshaw. ‘The virus sticks to the cells in the nose then ruptures, travelling to the airways and other parts of the upper respiratory tract, including the throat.’

So what can we do to protect ourselves? Well, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. ‘Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are more effective than you think,’ says Dr Adam Simon, GP and medical officer at Pushdoctor.co.uk. ‘Washing your hands regularly is always a good idea but be aware that antibacterial soaps don’t kill viruses and as such won’t prevent the spread of colds.’ Office martyrdom doesn’t help, either.

‘The best way to prevent a cold outbreak is for the person who has the virus to stay at home and rest.’ But there is another way to get ahead of the game in the face of all these airborne contagions – know your facts.

REX

Is a cold the same as the flu?

Colds and flu are both caused by viruses, but it’s quite difficult for doctors to determine which one we are suffering from. The term ‘influenza-like illness’ or ‘ILI’ is, in medical settings, also used for colds, especially when a fever is present. Both viruses attack the cells of the adenoids at the back of your throat, spreading to cells in the rest of the upper respiratory tract (ie, the nose, throat, pharynx and larynx).

‘If you have more severe symptoms, a fever of 39.5 and you’re aching all over, it’s more likely that you have got an influenza,’ says Sebastian Johnston, professor of respiratory medicine and allergy at Imperial College London. ‘But influenza only really happens during annual influenza epidemics – we normally have one every year [from October to May], they vary in severity and will last six to eight weeks in more highly populated parts of the country before spreading.’

Currently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the flu jab for pregnant women, health workers, people over 65 (or under five) and those with chronic health conditions. But it is available for everyone (ask your GP) and is the only reliable protection.

Sleep disorders

Credit: REX

Can common colds be spread by kissing?

True, but more than that, you don’t need to kiss or even touch a stranger to pick up the germs. ‘The virus particles of the common cold are spread through the small droplets of saliva in the air when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or even laughs or talks,’ says GP Dr Sarah Brewer.

‘The particles are propelled at an estimated speed of around 100mph and can travel for many metres [recent research* shows that a single cough would fill about three quarters of a two-litre bottle with air containing 3,000 droplets of potentially infectious saliva]. They may then enter a nearby person’s body through the eyes, nose or mouth.’ In addition, germs from their hands linger long after they’ve gone, contaminating surfaces such as door handles, escalators and keyboards on which the virus is able to survive.

Does Vitamin C help prevent colds?

Not so much. ‘Research shows that vitamin C is only really effective in the prevention of colds when the human body is under significant stress – for example in soldiers or long-distance runners,’ says Dr Ashton Harper, medical advisor for pharmaceutical company Protexin. Professor Openshaw agrees. ‘The vitamin C myth really doesn’t have a good scientific basis,’ he says. ‘There’s no harm in it, but it is not a cure.’

In fact, much on offer at your local pharmacist will have a negligible effect. ‘There’s no good evidence, for example, that cough medicine works,’ says Dr Davina Deniszczyc, medical executive director at Nuffield Health. ‘But, interestingly, in clinical studies, placebos (sugar pills) work really well.’ Indeed, research from the University of Wisconsin found that when patients received a placebo pill that they believed contained echinacea, their illnesses were substantively shorter and less severe. So whatever your medicine of choice, if it’s safe and seems to work for you, stick with it.

sleep disorders

 Is the number of colds you get down to genetics?

Partly true. ‘We all have what we call innate immune systems, which protect us against viruses we’ve never seen before,’ says Professor Johnston. ‘We also have acquired immunity, where our bodies “learn” from infections we’ve seen previously and have immunity to them [such as mumps or chickenpox].’ The number of colds we get depends on how strong both these immune systems are. ‘People vary depending on their genetic make-up and there are at least 40 genes found to control our immune defences,’ adds Professor Openshaw. ‘So you may simply be lucky or unlucky in terms of the pattern you’ve inherited.’

Does being miserable make you more susceptible to the sniffles?

This one’s actually true. ‘Maintaining a positive mental attitude can help prevent illness,’ says Justin Jones, national physiology manager at Nuffield Health. ‘This is because we release different hormones depending on our outlook. Thinking positively has been proven to release the immune-boosting hormone DHEA, while thinking negatively releases the immune-suppressing hormone cortisol.’ So being upbeat can help you stay healthy.

Professor Openshaw agrees there’s some science behind this idea. ‘One of the last studies that was ever done at the Common Cold Research Unit in Salisbury before it closed showed that if people feel miserable and out of control in their lives then they are more likely to be infected by a standard dose of common cold virus.’ So chin up, and look on the bright side, you will be doing your nose a favour.

How to get to sleep

The cold remedies that actually work (according to the experts)

Zinc lozenges

A study by Helsinki University found zinc lozenges can shorten a cold by about four days. ‘Don’t exceed 100mg of elemental zinc per day,’ says lead author Dr Harri Hemila. Nature’s Way Zinc Lozenges (£2.93 for 60, Iherb.com)

Probiotics

It turns out that yoghurt is the best thing to eat for breakfast if you want to avoid catching the common cold, as yoghurts are probiotic foods. ‘The majority of our immune system is in our gut,’ says Dr Harper. ‘Probiotics have been shown to significantly reduce the severity of cold symptoms.’ Choose a high- quality multi-strain product such as Bio-Kult Advanced Formula Probiotics (£8.99 for 30, Bio-kult.com).

Exercise

‘The last thing you will feel like doing when you have a cold is exercising, but a study has shown that going on a 45-minute walk when you don’t normally do much exercise boosts your immune system. The effect can last for up to three hours,’ says Dr Sohere Roked.

Echinacea

This one’s still up for debate, but recent research by Professor Johnston at the Royal Society of Medicine showed echinacea reduces (by about 50 per cent) recurrent respiratory tract infections. A Vogel Echinaforce Hot Drink (£9.99, Avogel.co.uk)

Paracetamol

‘Nothing can prevent a cold, so it’s a matter of symptom relief,’ says Professor Johnston. A Southampton University study found paracetamol was superior to ibuprofen when it comes to treating colds. Paracetamol (39p for 16, Superdrug.com).

Drink plenty of fluids

‘Drink plenty of fluids, as it’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re ill due to fluid loss caused by having a high temperature and increased nasal secretions,’ says Angela Chalmers.’

Eat less sugar

‘Avoid sugar, as it competes with vitamin C, which is good for the immune system,’ says Alison Cullen. ‘If you have lots of sugar, you undermine your immune system.’

Vitamin D

‘A lot of people are deficient in vitamin D in the UK and there’s evidence boosting it can help resistance to infection,’ says Professor Johnston. Research shows in order to activate an immune response, vitamin D must kick-start T cells in our body, which can attack and neutralise any threat. ImmiFlex (£13.39 for 30, Nutritioncentre.co.uk)

*Study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Drink green tea

‘Try drinking green tea,’ says Alison Cullen. ‘It’s rich in many chemicals that have been shown to have health-protective properties.’

Sleep paralysis

Use vapour rub

‘Put vapour rub on the soles of your feet and wear socks on top,’ says Angela Chalmers. ‘Many people swear by this to help relieve a cough at night.’

Incorporate beta glutens into your diet

‘Having beta glucans in your diet – found in baker’s yeast, oats, rye, barley, wheat and shiitake mushrooms – or in supplement form on a daily basis has been shown to reduce both bacterial infections and viruses. And, if taken when unwell, beta glucans can actually shorten the length of the illness,’ says Dr Sohere Roked. Check out our list of immune-boosting foods to add to your diet.

Add lysine into your diet

‘Get plenty of lysine, an essential amino acid that works to boost the immune system and helps stimulate the body’s own antibodies to fight illness,’ says Dr Sohere Roked. ‘It’s found in plain yoghurt and skimmed milk, apricots, dried apples and mangos, and fish.’

Stay cool

‘You could also try sleeping with the window open, as germs and viruses can breed more quickly in warm temperatures,’ says Angela Chalmers. ‘It’s a myth that cold weather causes a cold, and keeping fresh air circulating will help create a healthier sleeping environment.’

Steam inhalation

‘Steam inhalation may sound old-fashioned, but it’s a powerful way to help clear mucus and soothe irritated airways,’ says Angela Chalmers.

Sleep with an extra pillow

‘When you have a cold, sleep with an extra pillow, as this will help with the drainage of nasal passages,’ says Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers.

Use a warm compress

‘Try a warm compress,’ says Dr Laura Ginesi. ‘A hot flannel, wrung out and placed on your forehead and over the bridge of your nose, may help to relieve some of the pressure from blocked sinuses.’

Get enough sleep

‘Try to get enough rest,’ says Dr Annabel Bentley. ‘It can help you get over the worst.’

sleep

Team Marie Claire’s cold remedies

Holly Rains, Digital Editor:

‘Satsumas (easy peelers) are my go to when I get a cold, or think I have one about to strike. It’s essentially Vitamin C but starving off a cold while feeling festive is better than chugging orange juice all day long.’

Jenny Proudfoot, Junior Digital News Editor:

‘As soon as I feel a cold coming on I go hard on the ginger. Ginger in my meals, ginger in my teas, any ginger sweets etc. It not only soothes a sore throat, but can kill rhinoviruses (the cause of most colds) and gives you a quick warm up.’

Penny Goldstone, Digital Fashion Editor:

‘I do fresh garlic and ginger in hot water, with a bit of lemon – I have that once a day when I’m feeling unwell. Garlic is great for colds, in fact I add garlic to all my dishes when I’m ill.’

Katie Thomas, Digital Beauty Editor:

‘It’s vitamin C for me – I overdose on easy peelers when I sense a cold.’

Lucy Abbersteen, Digital Beauty Writer:

‘As soon as I feel a cold coming on, I take either Day or Night Nurse (depending on the time of day). It knocks my illness on the head immediately and when everyone was getting ill a couple of weeks ago, I credit that with my speedy recovery.’

Get well soon!

The post Here are the best ways to beat a cold virus if you’re feeling grim appeared first on Marie Claire.