Fever and sleep

We can all relate to the drowsy feeling during a flu or fever. All you want to do is get to bed and go to sleep.  So, why is that?

What does it mean when you get a fever? It means different things, but the main one is an infection. It is part of the defense against bugs such as bacteria and viruses. Our body fights the infection with the help of fever. Body temperature can also increase temporarily following exercise. Fever in itself is not dangerous (except if it gets very high).  Normal body temperature is 37 C or 98.6 F.  A fever is 38 C or 100.4 using oral temperature.

Sleep has many benefits on the immune systems. Sleep triggers immune fighting cells and proteins such as natural killer cells and cytokines such as interleukin-1. In the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience’s 2009 March issue, the authors propose that the mechanism where infection induces alteration of sleep is what promotes recovery through the generation of fever. Sleep loss impairs the immune system. A good night sleep helps the immune system. It is that simple.

What do you do when you have a fever ?

  • If you have a fever, you need to consult your doctor since it is a sign of infection.
  • Overheating and high fever are dangerous and you need medical attention, rather than “sleep it off.”
  • If you get the common cold, get a good night sleep- it is good medicine. And don’t forget the chicken soup.