Latest News » Getting too little sleep makes you 4 times more likely to catch a cold

Not getting enough sleep puts you at risk of the common cold.

You probably already know that not getting enough sleep can be damaging to your health over time. Scientists have linked chronic sleeplessness to chronic disease, obesity and other long-term health problems. Now, a new study has discovered that how much you sleep has a profound effect on your health in the short term as well. The study, conducted at the University of San Francisco, found that the amount of sleep a person gets is one of the most influential factors in determining whether he or she will catch the common cold if exposed to it.

The study involved 164 volunteers whose sleep was monitored for seven nights. After a week had passed, they were exposed to a cold virus via nose drops in amounts similar to natural exposure. The researchers put the volunteers up in a hotel during this portion of the study so that they would be comfortable if they got sick.

The study found that the participants who had slept fewer than six hours per night the week before were 4.2 times more likely to catch the virus than those who got more than seven hours of sleep per night. According to University of San Francisco psychiatry professor Aric Prather, this is consistent with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's recommendation to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. 

"Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects' likelihood of catching cold," Prather said in a statement. "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."

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