Who gets sick in the summer?

Last Tuesday the high was 92 degrees outside. Inside it wasn’t much better. I broke out with a summer fever and hit the 101 degree mark. First – who the heck gets sick in the summer??? Me, I guess that’s who. Second – I felt too crappy to go to the Rite-Aid that is .2 miles from my house. So I did want any civilized human would do, I gulped down some Children’s Motrin since I had no “grown up” meds in the house , put on my favorite PJs and crawled into bed. And bed is where I stayed – for the next 14 hours. I don’t think I have done that since I was in college! I woke up with the worst sleep hangover I could imagine but the fever was gone. The whole thing got me thinking about two things – (1) is sleep really the all-natural cure for minor illness and (2) can you really sleep too much?

I pulled out my iPad and went straight to Google in search of answers to my sleep mystery and here is what I found.

We all know that a fever is a natural response to infection or illness – it’s your body’s SOS signal that something is amiss. So when we want to self-diagnose, where do we all end up? Web MD and if you ask them if getting adequate sleep protects you from illness? They answer: It helps. So my 14 hour sleep fest was in fact a good idea! Getting enough rest helps your body heal faster by strengthening the immune system.

Bob Rosenberg (the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona, and author of Sleep Soundly Every Night; Feel Fantastic Every Day) was quoted stating that, “Sleep is important for healing because slow wave or deep sleep is when tissue repair occurs,” Rosenberg said. “We put out most of our growth hormone in deep sleep, and growth hormone is important in terms of repairing tissue, muscle, everything you could think of that has to do with repair.”

That same article goes on to say that we don’t give sleep enough credit and while we all know that we’re supposed to rest when we’re sick, we tend to ignore the sage advice. Not smart – as adults, we need to listen to our body more!

Another great thing about sleep – it doesn’t come with a warning label, it’s FREE and it’s hypo-allergenic! There are plenty of people that prefer to go all-natural when it comes to illness — I’m not talking about clothing optional, I’m talking herbal — and there are some interesting  natural options for those that prefer that method.

So that’s the good. What about the bad? That hangover I mentioned!

The urban dictionary is with me and sees a sleep hangover as a very real thing:

sleep hangover





According to an article I read on Wired, “Oversleeping feels so much like a hangover that scientists call it sleep drunkenness. But, unlike the brute force neurological damage caused by alcohol, your misguided attempt to stock up on rest makes you feel sluggish by confusing the part of your brain that controls your body’s daily cycle.”

So I did what I needed to – but maybe I did it a little too much. That tends to be the story of my life but I’ll go on record saying that my sleep marathon was worth it. I woke up fever free and ready for the couch and a Grey’s Anatomy on NetFlix and then work the next day! You can rest easy – I am back to my sparkly self and touting the benefits of sleep and sharing some of my own personal antics on @MaryHelenSleeps.

Sleep well and be well!

Mary Helen Uusimaki @MaryHelenSleeps Better Sleep Council

Mary Helen Uusimaki
Better Sleep Council








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