You already know that it is necessary for you to sleep at least seven hours every night in order to have a healthy lifestyle. Many studies have associated good rest with lower chances of becoming obese, suffering from a stroke or heart attack and even premature death. After a good night’s sleep you not only feel more rested, but you also are in a better mood and more able to concentrate well at work.
A new study shows yet another benefit to getting enough sleep at night. Researchers from the University of California, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Carnegie Mellon University came to the conclusion that people who manage to sleep less than seven hours every night are four times more likely to catch a cold if they are exposed to a virus.
“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold. It didn’t matter how old people were, their stress levels, their race, education or income. It didn’t matter if they were a smoker. With all those things taken into account, statistically sleep still carried the day,” said lead study author Aric Prather, who is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California from San Francisco.
According to him, this study is the first one to reveal a link between the risk of getting sick and people’s sleep habits by using objective sleep measures.
The researchers involved 164 volunteers in the study. These were monitored between 2007 and 2011. At the beginning of the study they underwent health screenings and answered various questions related to their general lifestyle to determine the alcohol and cigarettes use but also the amount of stress they dealt with. These tests were conducted for almost two months.
Afterwards, their sleep habits were measured through a watch-like sensor that assessed the quality of sleep they got during the night. Then, the participants were given a cold virus though nasal drops while they stayed in a hotel for a week. Throughout this time, the researchers made sure they would collect mucus samples every day, to check if the patients had caught the cold.
They soon found out that those who slept six hours or less than that were 4.2 times more at risk to catch a cold than the other ones, who managed to sleep at least seven hours. Moreover, it was proved that the less they slept, the higher their chances were to get sick.
The results of the study were published in the journal Sleep.
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