When my kids were little, I used to get sick several times a year. The kids were getting exposed to colds and other viruses at school and hadn’t built up immunities yet. They would catch the cold and bring it home.

We tried to follow good hygiene rules (hand-washing, etc.) to reduce the chance of our kids catching colds from one another, and from us catching their colds, but we were rarely fortunate enough to avoid getting sick.

As they got older, and everyone’s immunities built up, we all got sick less frequently.

Still, I was amazed because I went from several bouts of illness a year to none. And what surprised me more was I had been having trouble sleeping during that time, yet I was staying healthy despite not getting enough sleep.

The last few years of my kids’ time in high school coincided with the great recession. My company was feeling the pain of the recession and while I still enjoyed my job, I did not enjoy the lack of sleep.

I’ve never had a problem falling asleep at night, but when I wake up in the middle of the night, during stressful times I have trouble falling back asleep. I’ve learned from talking with other people how incredibly common that is. During stressful times, when we wake up in the middle of the night, falling back to sleep is often impossible as thoughts raced through our minds.

I tried a lot of things to help—meditation, therapy, limiting fluid intake before bed to reduce the biological need to wake up too early, and more. I almost took sleeping pills. It might have been a good idea, but I wanted to avoid it if at all possible.

I was never able to prove it, but I was convinced exercise was helping me not “crash” and helping to keep my energy where it needed to be at work and in other aspects of life.

I never looked it up because I didn’t care to, but I am now certain the exercise was critical.

According to the Mayo Clinic Web site, “Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as the common cold. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.”

Yet, I wasn’t getting sick.

According to Jordan Metzl, author of The Exercise Cure, and doctor of sports-medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery, “Exercise is the best preventive drug we have, and everybody needs to take that medicine.” I read on and found when you exercise, your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Some studies have shown regular exercise will help prevent the common cold! Another reason to exercise.

How is your overall health? Are you regularly catching colds? Are you exercising regularly? Join the conversation with your comments…

All the best,