It can be really hard to get a good night’s rest. You toss and turn for hours, and then your alarm clock goes off at the worst possible time.
Can you catch cold sores from not sleeping? Cold sores are a cause of concern for many people, as they can become unsightly and embarrassing. But there are steps that you can take to prevent catching the virus or experiencing an outbreak in the first place.
- TIP: Apply HERP-B-GONE as soon as you experience a tingling sensation!
Despite being so common, many people are unsure how they catch cold sores and how the virus works. It’s widely known that once you catch a virus you do not usually ever fully recover. Instead, the virus is either active or inactive.
When it is active the sufferer will see new cold sores on the lips, chin, cheeks, and face. But how does the virus become activated? And can cold sores be triggered by a lack of sleep? We’ll seek to answer these questions, and others, in this in-depth article.
Table of Contents:
Will You Get Cold Sores from Not Sleeping?
Not sleeping or having a lack of sleep is one of the most common triggers for cold sores. Although you need to catch the virus in the first place to develop cold sores, not sleeping properly can cause them to flare up.
- FACT: The reason behind this is that when you are tired your immune system will suffer. It’s your body’s natural defense against germs and bacteria, and it also stops cold sores from flaring up. So, when you feel particularly fatigued, you’re more likely to see an outbreak.
For this reason, mothers of young children are especially likely to see a flare up of cold sores around their lips. As any parents will tell you, this is because your night’s sleep will often be interrupted by crying or feeding. With a baby to look after it can be difficult to catch up on this sleep during the day too.
Students can also be susceptible to cold sores during exam term. Exams can cause greater stress (another factor that can weaken the immune system), as well as more time studying and less time sleeping. The weakened immune system therefore leads to a greater likelihood of an outbreak.
What Is a Cold Sore?
When a cold sore breaks out, sufferers notice a number of blisters and sores around their mouth and lips. Sometimes cold sores will only come out once, whereas some people suffer from many outbreaks over their lifetimes. This is because cold sores are the result of a viral infection from the herpes simplex virus.
- FACT: Approximately seven in ten people have caught the herpes simplex virus.
But only 20% of people will actually see symptoms in the form of cold sores. This is because the virus can lay dormant without ever being triggered.
There are two forms of the herpes simplex virus. HSV-1 (Type 1) is the type that causes cold sores around the mouth. HSV-2 (Type 2) is more commonly associated with the sexually transmitted infection, known as genital herpes.
Will Insomnia Make Cold Sores Worse?
Insomnia is a stressful condition that affects sleep. Unfortunately for insomnia sufferers, the condition can actually make cold sores worse. Or, it can at least cause them to flare up more frequently.
Insomnia is an unpleasant illness which stops people from being able to fall asleep. Others are able to fall asleep, but wake regularly and never seem to feel refreshed. Insomnia affects one in three people at some point during their lives.
This can be stressful enough as it is, but the embarrassment or worry of seeing a cold sore develop can make things worse. This stress in turn weakens the immune system. And as we’ve already seen, this can cause more outbreaks (and difficulty sleeping).
Other Known Causes of Cold Sores
As well as fatigue and not getting enough sleep, there are many other factors that can cause an outbreak of cold sores in sufferers. These include:
- Pregnancy and menstruation. It is thought that the hormonal changes and the stress associated with these act as triggers.
- Cold weather can also cause more outbreaks. If your lips crack in the cold, these sores can cause the virus to attack.
- Sunburnt lips will crack the skin, causing a flare-up.
- If you are suffering from another illness or fever you are also more likely to suffer from cold sores. In fact, this is where the cold sore name comes from – people tend to develop them when they have a cold.
Preventing Cold Sores
Unfortunately, once you catch the herpes simplex virus you will never get rid of it. However, for many people it will simply lay dormant throughout their lives without causing them any problems. This means, if you suffer from cold sores, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce the chances of a flare up.
- The most effective method is to reduce stress in your life wherever possible. There are plenty of ways to do this – including meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. This works because less stress means less damage to your immune system.
- Staying fit and healthy will also help to prevent cold sore flare ups. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables is essential.
- Exercise regularly – experts recommend getting 150 minutes of it each week.
- There are products and supplements that you can take, such as zinc and lysine.
- Many people use lip balms to protect their lips, both before and during flare ups.
- Take Echinacea and other herbal supplements to boost your immune system.
You CAN get cold sores from not sleeping. Your body’s defenses are run down, so your body is more susceptible to the virus. Find a way to relax and go to bed earlier.
You know where cold sores tend to appear, so apply the best over-the-counter cold sore treatment as soon as you spot the warning signs!