Herpes is one of the infections of the skin and mucous membranes in the genital and surrounding areas (buttocks, inside of the thighs, and anus) which is caused by the herpes simplex type 1 or 2 viruses.  The mucous membrane is the thin, moist lining of many parts of the body such as the mouth, nose, genitals, and the throat. Both types of virus can infect the mouth thereby producing cold sores, or the genital area leading to genital herpes. Herpes simplex type 1 virus is quite common in genital herpes in people aged below 25 years, while in people 25 years of age and older, genital herpes is most often caused by herpes simplex type 2 virus.

All animals need sleep, and human beings are no different. Even though we live in a macho culture where we brag about how little sleep we can get by with, the verdict is in. If we want to be holistically healthy and happy, everyone – men, women, and children alike – needs between 7 and 8.5 hours of quality sleep each day.

This is especially important for those of us with herpes. I consider depriving oneself of sleep as a form of self-abuse. Torturers know this too – policemen, intelligence officers, and army interrogators from Guantanamo Bay to Syria, Zimbabwe, and local police stations know that depriving prisoners of sleep is one the most effective techniques in forcing “co-operation.” In as few as four days in a row of less than 7 hours of quality sleep, we start to lose our ability to make sound decisions and have short term memory problems. We even begin to become pre-diabetic.

It’s been clinically proven that you get better results studying or working to a deadline when you get a good night’s sleep instead of pushing yourself to exhaustion with an all-nighter. If you continue to be sleep deprived, you will quickly start displaying dysfunctional, even psychotic behaviour. The sleep-deprived are far more likely to be angry, violent, irritable, and irrational. Brain scans show the brains of sleep-deprived people behave similarly to those with the most severe mental health issues. Sleep-deprivation will diminish men’s sexual performance and reduce fertility for both men and women. That won’t matter much for the sleep-deprived, however, since lack of “beauty sleep” will make you less attractive.

When you are feeling ill, even if it’s just a cold or flu – an essential thing to do is to call in sick, clear your schedule, and get plenty of sleep. This is essential for dealing with herpes outbreaks because sleep deprivation is a common trigger for severe outbreaks. So if you cannot get enough sleep at night, make sure you make up for it with a long nap or extra sleep on your days off – and contrary to the popular myth, naps that are 90 minutes or longer are far more beneficial than ”cat naps.” The best time of the day to nap is the afternoon, hence the age-old tradition of the siesta.

Getting 7-8.5 hours of sleep a day is essential, but it is also vital that we get enough “deep sleep.” Even if you are in bed for the required amount of time but are woken up or disturbed often, you will not get enough “deep sleep.” The older you are, the more critical “deep-sleep” is. A person in their 30’s gets 100 minutes of deep sleep each night; by the time you are in your 60’s, you only get 20 minutes of “deep-sleep.” Without enough “deep-sleep,” you can develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and many other health problems. “Deep-sleep” is vital for your immune system and for keeping the herpes virus dormant.

So how do you ensure that you get enough “deep sleep”? Don’t drink or eat anything within 2 hours of bedtime – eating before sleep can give you bad dreams, and drinking may force you to wake up to go to the bathroom. Don’t watch the news, music videos, or disturbing imagery just before going to bed. If you are wound up, relax in a hot bath, ask your partner for a massage, or have sex. (or all of the above!) Make sure you sleep in an environment that is dark, quiet, and comfortable – wear earplugs and/or a blindfold if needed. Don’t allow children or pets to wake you up if you can avoid it, and don’t let someone else’s snoring keep you awake. And if you’ve fought with a loved one, make peace before going to bed. There are a great many reasons why all animals sleep. Lack of sleep now guarantees negative health consequences in the future. I wish you all a lifetime of lovely, restorative, holistically healthy sleep.