Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I sleep more if I have a cold?"
I have a cold and my mother said to get plenty of rest. Does this mean to sleep more or just not do anything? Does getting more sleep help cure a cold or does it just work its way out no matter what you do?
Most of the time a cold will get better on its own regardless of what you do! Your body's immune system is very good at taking care of these kinds of common infections. That being said, as part of the body's fighting off the infection, you will feel more tired than usual. Therefore, it is important not to over do things. For example, vigorous exercise is not a good idea while you are fighting off a cold. Some people do find that they need extra sleep when they have a cold; at a minimum, you should try to take it easy. I would recommend that you focus on drinking plenty of liquids and eating nutritious meals. Most of the time, the cold virus will run its course in 7-10 days. If, however, you find that the symptoms are still dragging on or worsening after that, or if you have high fevers, then you should go see your primary care doctor to make sure that nothing else is going on. Sometimes, after a viral infection, you may be susceptible to other secondary infections, such as pneumonia or sinusitis, and your doctor will be able to rule those out for you.
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