New study reinforces the importance of getting a good night’s sleep
Sleep disorders can be very debilitating. Scientists directly linked lack of sleep to accidents, as lack of sleep has been referred to as “public health epidemic” by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1 in 5 people in the US sleeps less than 6 hours a night.
Previous studies on the matter have reported poor sleep increases metabolic disorders and heart attack risk.
The team of researchers, from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) proved that lack of sleep could increase the risk of catching a cold. Furthermore, the team was aiming to asses how a sleep deprived human body responds to viral infection.
People who slept less than 6 hours a night were found to be more susceptible of catching a virus when compared to people sleeping more than 7 hours. “Short sleep was more important than any other factor in predicting subjects’ likelihood of catching cold,” lead author Dr. Aric Prather said. “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.”
164 study participants were monitored for one week while exposed to a common cold virus administered via nasal drops. Researchers analysed each body capacity level to resist viral infection.
Study found that a 6 hours a night sleep is 4.2 times more likely to lead to catching a cold when compared with 7 hours of sleep or more. Participants who had less than 5 hours of sleep a night were 4.5 times more prone to viral infection.
Through study results, researchers also wanted to raise awareness about sleep deprivation consequences: “In our busy culture, there’s still a fair amount of pride about not having to sleep and getting a lot of work done. We need more studies like this to begin to drive home that sleep is a critical piece to our well-being”, Dr. Prather concludes.