Sufficient Sleep Greatly Reduces Likelihood of Getting a Cold

Jan 14, 2009 by

Sufficient Sleep Greatly Reduces Likelihood of Getting a Cold

Getting sufficient sleep is important for optimal immune function and good health in general. Having at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night has been linked to lower risks of certain serious diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Risk of death is lowered, too.

Now, a study has found that sleeping less than 7 hours each night increases one’s risk of getting a cold by almost 3 times. On top of insufficient sleep, poor quality sleep raises risk about 5 times, too.

The said study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and the study team had collected information from 153 persons from 2000 to 2004. This included number of hours of sleep per night and how rested they felt in the morning.

The subjects were given nose drops which contained a common cold virus, after which they reported on their health 5 days later. Mucus samples were obtained to test for the presence of the virus, while blood samples were tested for antibodies 4 weeks later.

Overall, it was found that those who had less than 7 hours of sleep each night had 2.94 times the risk of getting a cold, as compared to those who did.

“Regular sleep habits may play an important role in your immune system‘s ability to fight off infectious disease. Longer sleep duration and better sleep efficiency are both associated with greater resistance to the common cold,” said Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the leader of the study.

Quality of sleep matters too. “And those who lose more than 8 percent of sleep on an average night because they have trouble getting to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night are more than five times more likely to get a cold when exposed to a virus,” Cohen added.

Bottom line? Good sleep is critical for good health.

“Getting good sleep should count among the priorities of health-conscious people. Time invested in sleep will almost certainly be paid back in dividends of better health – fewer colds and greater productivity,” said Dr David L Katz, who is the director of the Yale University School of Medicine Prevention Research Center.

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