Lack of sleep increases common cold risk, say researchers
The team reports that people who only get six hours sleep a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold after exposure to the virus than people that get seven or more hours sleep a night.
“Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” says lead author Aric Prather, assistant professor of Psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF).
“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.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously referred to insufficient sleep as a “public health epidemic,” linking it with motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and occupational errors.
In the past, Medical News Today have reported on studies finding that poor sleep may be linked to poor metabolic health and could raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
While Dr. Prather had previously found that people who get insufficient sleep are less protected from illness after vaccination than people who get adequate sleep, the aim of his team’s new study was to learn how sleep affects how the body responds to real infection.