I seem to have contracted some form of summer plague that’s had me flat on my back for the past few days. And it’s following a pattern that I’ve noticed before in similar ailments. I’ll wake up feeling terrible – we’re talking cold compresses on the forehead, shaky, miserable, feverish, barely able to stand – then around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I start feeling better and by 5 or 6, I’m wondering what all the complaining was about. Then the next morning, it repeats and I’m back in my bed o’ pain. (The somewhat annoying thing about this is that all my doctor’s appointments fall in the afternoon when I’m feeling better, so I end up looking like a whiny little hypochondriac.)
The nurse practitioner I talked to indicated that this pattern was pretty common. So what causes it? Does the body build up toxins while it’s sleeping? Do viruses keep banker’s hours?
Lack of fluids and medication during the night is one part of the problem. Another part is mechanical.
During sleep, mucous tends to thicken normally. In addition it accumulates in your sinuses due to forces of gravity and position. After you wake, you drink fluid and rise out of bed (or at least to a sitting position) for part of the time. The mucous starts to thin and drain. You blow your nose and cough getting those pockets of contagion out of your head and chest. After a few hours you feel better.
I find that I feel better if I get out of bed and go about my normal routine. Lying in bed most of the day slows down the draining process. However, sometimes I am just too sick to do it.
Little Cloud’s explanation makes sense to me. In addition, I’d guess that the human metabolism (and virus-fighting mechanisms) slows down during sleep, allowing an advantage to viruses. Viruses don’t sleep, afaik.